Sometimes, it feels like caffeine is a necessity. It may be that cup of coffee before your class starts at 8AM or that energy drink to help you get through that last leg of your assignment at 2 in the morning. Given the hectic work and school schedules for teenagers and young adults, every source of energy is welcomed to get as many things done in the day as possible.
It may be hard for some to remember the last time that they got a proper, full night’s sleep as we talk about naps and sleep this week. Schoolwork, jobs, and extracurricular activities are just a few things that can contribute to an adolescent’s hectic and busy schedule. Simply put, there aren’t enough hours in the day for people to do everything that they want, and they often sacrifice the time they should be using sleeping to get everything else done.
Most of us do not like being told what to do. It can be as minor as a parent telling us to do an easy chore, or someone you don’t know that well telling you how to do something. This even includes your own brain: for example, you may tell yourself to start that homework assignment or put your laundry away, and instead…you would rather not.
While it’s incredibly important to get a good night’s sleep, sleeping patterns and the amount of sleep adolescents get can get jumbled because of mental illness (for example, we’ve talked about “depression naps” and the effects that they can have). Overall, it’s difficult for adolescents to get the recommended amount of sleep they should be getting, and with higher rates of mental illness within this age group today, it can be even more difficult because of the ways that it can affect your sleep, such as depression napping and insomnia.
Truthfully, the chances that your sleep schedule aren’t the best are quite high. Adolescents in high school and college, despite needing a sufficient amount of sleep, do not get the recommended 8ish hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. There are tons of reasons for this: technology, caffeine, and just being too busy are just a few factors, to name a few.
The amount of sleep I’ve had in any given night is the single most important determinant in how my day is going to go. This is because sleep correlates with emotional well-being, physical health and ability to concentrate and function adequately throughout the day. I find myself especially cranky and kind of insufferable to be around on days that I haven’t had enough sleep – I’m one of those “don’t talk to me until I’ve had coffee” kind of people.
Okay, we know, using technology to help your sleep doesn’t make much sense. It’s almost a widely accepted known fact that using technology as much as we do can actually damage our sleep habits and patterns, especially when using it in bed and during nighttime. If you haven’t been sleeping that well though, you may need some extra support getting the recommended 8-ish hours of sleep a night.
Throughout my junior year of high school, I was beyond stressed with things coming up left and right. I had jumped from 2 advanced classes to 5 classes, was an officer of several clubs, and had three different extracurriculars after school. I told myself at the beginning of the year before taking the plunge that I could handle it, “It will all be over in a mere 9 months right?” Big mistake.