Sleep. At a time when we arguably need it more than we ever
will in the future, teenagers are getting it the least.
When we're at an age where bedtimes are no longer as strictly
enforced, but waking up most probably is, the struggle
between sleep and being productive remains a pillow fight,
with detrimental outcomes.
One could put forward that it isn't realistic to expect the
recommended eight to nine hours of sleep per night from the
majority of the teenage population, especially from those
whose workload has doubtless become weightier as they climb
the high school rungs.
Other factors come into play as we get more senior - having
part-time jobs, extracurricular activities or an intense
dedication to the internet.
Add in the hopefully thriving social life, and teenagers have
a plethora of reasons to pointedly ignore the alarm clock.
This long-fought battle doesn't go unnoticed by schools,
Some schools require pupils to sign a contract stating that
they'll get the recommended eight hours of sleep every night,
but with no enforcement, there's no real motivation to uphold
Perhaps if iPods lay in the balance, we'd feel more
But the school's concerns are legitimate.
In a study looking at sleep patterns in New Zealand secondary
school pupils, 21% reported not getting enough sleep, the
most likely culprits being older female pupils of Maori and
New Zealand European ethnicity.
That 21% is, today, most likely understated, as the results
were taken from a survey conducted in 2001.
Since 2001, the internet has boomed far beyond anticipation,
and smartphones and laptops make procrastination far more
accessible for teenagers.
Factor in, too, that the pupils sitting the survey might not
all have been entirely truthful, and we're looking at far
more than 21% in the modern age.
Aside from reaper-esque eyes, there are other health concerns
that have come to light as a result of limited sleep.
Short sleep duration is linked with increased risk of
diabetes, heart problems, depression and substance abuse.
It also decreases the ability to pay attention, remember new
information, and worst of all, makes us more susceptible to
pimples and weight gain.
With these revelations in mind, imagine what a month's
dedicated sleep could do. In addition to potentially raising
grades, it could clear skin and help lose a few kilograms.
What teenager could ask for more?
So, fellow pupils, schedule some sleep into your daily
activities - for a laptop battery runs out of charge quicker
at 50% than it would fully charged.
• By Josephine Devereux Year 13, Logan Park High