A PSA to Young Adults: Sleep is Not Optional

Posted on November 25, 2014


By: Prentiss Smith           

Image via weightnomore.com

Image via weightnomore.com

There is no doubt that young adults live extremely busy lives; we are constantly learning and getting involved in our communities because we are growing and figuring out our place in this world. However, in order to perform at our highest levels during the day, getting enough sleep each night is crucial. Juggling activities like schoolwork, sports, and a social life, all while simultaneously getting enough sleep, is not an easy task. Researchers suggest that young adults need about eight and a half to nine and a half hours of sleep each night, but this seemingly simple goal is almost impossible to reach.

Studies show that there is a shift in the circadian rhythm of the brain in teenagers after puberty, which makes it harder to actually fall asleep. This means that in some cases, some young adults don’t fall asleep until one or two in the morning. This makes both waking up for school at seven in the morning staying awake during that lecture five hours later much more difficult. We may also think that catching up on Z’s during the weekends will help us make up for our lack of sleep during the week, but the truth is that getting a lot of sleep and then no sleep at all throws off our entire sleep schedule and often affects us in harmful ways.

Statistics show that less than 20% of young adults actually report getting enough sleep. This means that the majority of us are tired and can’t accomplish what they want to during the day. Lack of sleep leads to impaired judgment and decision-making skills, which is not the best cognitive condition to be in for growing young adults. One of the reasons why we have such a hard time getting enough sleep is because of schoolwork, and not starting homework until eleven at night can truly hurt a student’s daily performance and GPA. The best solution for those in this situation is to get work done during the day. Go to a study hall at school or start your homework as soon as you get home so that you can get to bed at a reasonable hour.

In addition to the stresses of schoolwork, there are also other distractions teenagers face that are detrimental to sleeping patterns. Social media on iPhones and computers has become increasingly popular-it seems to be a travesty if you don’t have an Instagram or Facebook account. Social media is a way for young people to express themselves and stay connected with friends away from school. However, being on your phone often becomes a priority over doing homework. Be sure to limit time on these fun apps and sites. Get your homework done first so that you don’t have to feel guilty about procrastinating. Just be sure that once that homework is done and you are up to date on your Instagram feed, turn out the lights.

Sleep is not optional. Performance in school and overall development will improve when one adopts a healthy sleep schedule. It’s important to plan ahead and know when you’ll need an extra hour here or there. Who knows, maybe a quick power nap is all you need to get back on track. Most importantly, feeling healthy and well rested during the day will help you live a much happier life.

Posted in: Health