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My Life

Stress, Depression & Anxiety

Sleep Deprived?

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Do you have a tough time getting up in the morning?

Does it take you longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep?

Do you sleep for extra long periods on the weekend?

Do you find that you grow irritable by late afternoon and could fall asleep in an instant if there's a lull in your activities?

Do you struggle to concentrate and forget important obligations?


If you answered yes to any of the above, chances are you are sleep deprived. The good news is that you're in good company; only 20% of all teens get the recommended nine hours of sleep a night, meaning they are sleep deprived. The bad news is that poor sleep habits can be associated with significant health consequences.


Bedtime is a time to repair the ravages of the day with a good night's sleep. Unfortunately homework, extracurricular activities, social life, and part-time jobs can make you sleep deprived. Add in the fact that the biological drive to sleep peaks hours later in the night during adolescence, no matter how mentally exhausted you feel, and it's easy to see why the overstretched teenage brain is sleep deprived.


In the last few years, those who study sleep have found even more reasons why being sleep deprived is a problem too important to be ignored.


  • Researchers blame the technological invasion of the bedroom for teenagers being sleep deprived. The use of cell phones (for talking and text messaging), iPods, and computers after the lights are out have led to disrupted sleep, restlessness, stress, and fatigue. Scientists are also studying the possibility of a double whammy that radiation from cell phones might be responsible for delaying and reducing sleep.


  • Teenagers who are sleep deprived (sleep less than 6 ½ hours) may have a higher risk of elevated blood pressure that could lead to cardiovascular disease later in life.


  • Sleep deprived adolescents who try to make up for it by sleeping late on weekends are more likely to perform poorly in the classroom. That is because on the weekends they are waking up at a time that is later than their internal body clock expects. The fact that their clock must get used to a new routine may affect their ability to be awake early for school at the beginning of the week when they revert back to their old routine. Girls must be aware that if they are going to sleep more than eight hours on the weekend, they should put on a pad rather than a tampon before bed.


  • Teens who get less than eight hours of sleep per night are twice as likely to say they have fallen asleep at the wheel. The National Sleep Foundation found that 15% of teen drivers drive drowsy at least once a week.


  • A recent university study revealed that if teenagers were sleep deprived, they were more likely to be overweight or obese. When you are sleep deprived, you get both a sharp increase in the hormone that stimulates appetite accompanied by a decrease in another hormone which suppresses appetite, the combo leading to feeling hungry.

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