One of the biggest things it seems teens are known for is sleeping, so it might come as a surprise to many to find out that many teens are actually sleep-deprived.
There are some students who are forced to stay up at night in order to complete their homework too, but many stay up late to watch TV, play videogames or scour the Internet, and many might not know it, but it can affect more than just their energy level the next day.
A study by UC Berkeley released last month found that teens who stayed up later than 11:30pm on school nights fared worse academically and emotionally than those that slept earlier. They also found that these consequences lingered six to eight years later, even into college.
Teens need about 9.25 hours of sleep per night to function best, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Lack of sleep doesn’t just affect academics, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development — “those who had stayed up late during the school year or during the summer, especially when they were 14-16 years old, also reported more emotional distress (including sadness, irritability and depression) when they were 18 to 26 years old than their earlier-to-bed peers.”
VoiceWaves interviewed six academically successful teens and asked what kept them up late at night and how it was affecting their schoolwork. Almost all of them slept less than 9.25 hours a night and said that the lack of sleep increased their stress. Moreover they noticed that lack of sleep took the biggest toll on their performance in the classes that they were struggling in.
Their stories are chronicled below.
For more information about teens and sleep, go to www.kidshealth.org.