Sleep and the Importance

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University of Michigan

Sleep is an essential part of everyday life. It helps promote function and energizes you throughout the day. Don’t skip out on it!

Emma Safari, Photojournalist

Sleep is a strange thing. When we sleep for too long, we wake up tired. When we sleep too little during the night, we wake up either extremely tired or extremely energized with a crash throughout the day. Every human sleeps, but is there a correct way of sleeping versus an incorrect way of sleeping?

First, we should ask, what is the purpose of sleeping? Sleep is a necessary function that allows the body and mind to experience a reset which is supposed to leave the individual energized, recharged, and refreshed. The body has an “internal clock” which dictates when and how long a person needs to sleep. This clock is known to operate on a “circadian rhythm”. A circadian rhythm is a cycle in which the body’s mental, physical, and behavior follows a 24 hour schedule. Those who do not conform to this system may have sleep disorders. In addition, as the day goes on and light fades, the body naturally releases melatonin, which is a sleep hormone. Then, as the sun rises once more and the day starts again, the body releases a different hormone, known as cortisol. This hormone helps the human body become more alert and promotes energy. (sleepfoundation) 

There are four stages in the sleep cycle which repeat throughout the entirety of the night. The first three stages are known as the “Non-rapid eye movement” stages (NREM) while the last stage is known as the ‘Rapid eye movement’ stage (REM). During the first stage of sleep, the muscles in the body relax and heart rate, breathing, and eye movement slows. Next, during stage two, humans are found to be in deeper sleep where the body temperature is decreased, and heart rate, brain activity, and breathing slow down even more. While in the third stage, the body activities, such as temperature, heart rate, and brain activity are at its slowest stages. During the first rapid eye movement stage, the eyes quickly move while breathing, heart rate, and temperature increase. Dreaming tends to occur during this stage. These four stages will recur throughout the night and have the tendency to last between one hour and thirty minutes to two hours. 

Teenagers must sleep between 8-10 hours every night. The significance of gaining enough hours of sleep is to gain full cognitive and behavioral functions. Without enough sleep, these functions may fail throughout the day. (CDC). “When I don’t sleep, I am more stressed and feel physically awful. I also feel like I look worse appearance wise when I don’t sleep enough,” Payton Baughman (10). Many studies have shown that the sleep cycle for teenagers differs from that of adults.Teenagers fall into their sleep cycle later in the night, at around 11 pm and have the tendency to wake up later. (Sleepopolis). This is why many schools are starting later in the morning during the 2022-2023 school year. 

“With school and sports I find myself lacking sleep. When I don’t get enough sleep, I have a hard time paying attention and feel less motivated throughout the day.””

— James Vas (10)

Sleep is a necessary part of growth and development in a teenagers body, without it the brain may not develop in a healthy way. 

Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule is beyond important to promote sleep health. If you are a teenager, sleeping 8-10 hours a night is a must. Sleeping is an essential part of your physical and mental health. Don’t sacrifice precious hours of sleep that are necessary for growth.