Why Teenagers Deserve an Extra Hour in Bed

Brynn Lewis, Staff Writer


If you’re like most of us, you really, really do not want to get up in the morning to go to school. Most high school students can relate to wanting to sleep “five more minutes” (which can easily turn into ten…twenty…thirty), the perpetual snooze-button-pressing, and the budding caffeine addiction. But is there a reason why teenagers just don’t want to get up and get dressed? Science says there is. 


During adolescence, there is a change in teenage sleep cycles called a “sleep phase delay.” Teenagers naturally want to stay awake later and sleep in late. Melatonin—a hormone that helps people fall asleep—is released later the evening in teens than it is in children and adults. And when you naturally want to stay up late but aren’t allowed to sleep in, you’ll eventually start to feel sleep deprived.


Sleep is incredibly important for the body. It sounds like a cliché phrase, but it’s the truth. Lack of sleep can cause an increased risk of death, obesity, depression, and anxiety, and makes it harder to form good judgment calls. You’ll likely exercise less. Your skin will get worse, because your body, when sleep-deprived, produces more cortisol—which not only breaks down collagen, a protein that keeps your skin smooth, but is also related to high stress levels and blood pressure…which comes with a host of other problems. Want to know what’s causing your acne? Oftentimes, it’s lack of sleep. When you sleep, your brain consolidates memories, which is a vital part of learning (so make sure to go to bed early before a test!). And yet despite the fact that teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep to perform optimally, very few regularly get that number. 


Part of it is the teenage lifestyle—bright lights, caffeine, and exciting activities (like video games) can easily make it hard to get to sleep. And yet some high schools are opting to start class an hour or two later, aligning their schedule with teenage sleep schedules. Would that make any difference? Should MAC be one of those schools?


Maybe you can sleep on it. 


If you want to find out more about sleep, check out these websites:

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