What Are the Benefits of Sleep?

Students have gotten used to staying up late and not getting nearly as much sleep as they should. As growing teenagers, sleep is an important element that affects mental, physical, and emotional health. Most people know how important it is to get the proper amount of sleep to help them through the day; however, others might not be aware of the many benefits that sleeping has.

Teenagers need an average of between 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With academics, extracurriculars, and social media, teenagers often are lucky if they get around six hours. Freshman Susan DiRienzo says she gets around seven hours a night. “After school, I had swim, when the swim season was still happening, which would go to around 6:30 every night. I also babysit at night, and that can end around either 6:00 or 8:00. It depends.” According to the CDC, teenagers and children who do not get enough sleep have a higher risk for health problems like obesity, poor mental health, more injuries, and even type-2 diabetes. Adolescents who do not get the recommended amount of sleep are also more prone to have attention and behavioral problems. A study from the CDC also found that out of 10 high school students, seven do not get enough sleep on a school night. That means approximately 70% of students are affected negatively by lack of sleep.

Teens who do not get enough sleep also have a hard time remembering and concentrating during the day. There are even psychological effects of sleep deprivation, such as depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior. This happens because of the weakened emotional resilience or the capacity to be able to withstand the emotions that one is going through. Not getting enough sleep also causes anxiety and low self-esteem. Freshman Andrew Callaghan has experienced some side effects to not sleeping enough. Callaghan said, “When I don’t get enough sleep, I get a migraine and even have trouble walking. Sometimes I can’t even see, but mostly I’m not able to focus on my classes.”

I don’t do extracurricular activities. Staying up late is either because of homework and studying, or I am staying up on my phone.

— Noemie Rivera, Class of 2026

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) getting the required amount of good-quality sleep is just as important to human survival as eating food or drinking water. Sleeping is important because it makes one feel refreshed and energized during the day, but it is also important during the night. Sleep is an important factor to a number of brain cells, even including how neurons (nerve cells) communicate with one another. An article from NINDS entitled “Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep” said, “Your brain and body stay remarkably active while you sleep. Recent findings suggest that sleep plays a housekeeping role that removes toxins in your brain that build up during the time you are awake.” Sleep also has an impact on the tissues in the body. It impacts the lungs, heart, brain, mood, disease resistance, and the immune system. Without the proper amount of sleep needed, every body tissue or muscle that sleep has impact on will be affected. Even though the recommended amount for teenagers is 8-10 hours a night, everyone’s body varies on the amount of sleep needed to function. Some people might need 9-10 hours, while others might only need 6-7 hours. Sophomore Eric Neofytidis said that he feel the benefits when he does get enough sleep: “When I go to bed earlier, I am more motivated to do stuff throughout the day than if I only got 3-4 hours of sleep.”

Why are students not getting the proper amount of sleep? It can be because of extracurricular activities, schoolwork, or even technology. Freshman Noemie Rivera said, “I don’t do extracurricular activities. Staying up late is either because of homework and studying, or I am staying up on my phone.” Using phones before bed can push back the time that a person can actually fall asleep. Phones stimulate the brain, making it harder to relax and fall asleep. The amount of homework that students are given also attributes to the issue. Stressing about a project, assignment, or a test can keep students up for hours at a time. Not sleeping enough can also cause students to be more stressed. According to an article entitled “How Stress Can Affect Your Sleep,” from Baylor College of Medicine, “Sleep loss triggers our body’s stress response system, leading to an elevation in stress hormones, namely cortisol, which further disrupts sleep.”

Students who do not get enough sleep are at risk for future health problems and even psychological problems. Not getting enough sleep can cause memory problems, depression, and anxiety. Sleeping is vital because it keeps teens healthy and allows the brain to remove toxins that the body collects throughout the day. It is important to have a set sleeping schedule and good sleeping habits each night. Sleeping is especially important in teens and adolescents since the brain is still developing. Sleep should be prioritized since it has such a large impact on one’s health overall.