It is a problem affects roughly seventy percent of adults at least one day of every month, and responsible for roughly twenty percent of fatal car crashes. Sleep deprivation, which according to Drug intervention today, can be defined as a condition of not having enough sleep; it can be either chronic or acute. Chronic sleep deprivation is a lack of sleep over a long period of time, while acute is lack of sleep over a short period of time, both can be damaging. Sleep deprivation is damaging, in children and adults, it affects their mental health and physical health in a negative way, as well as their overall safety. “Sleep is a necessary and ubiquitous behavior. Like eating and drinking., without it we will eventually die” (Japanese Psychological Research 170). Although sleep is essential to living, sleep deprivation is a worldwide issue that affects people of all ages and keeps progressing over time. The risks of sleep deprivation need to be widely known.
According to the CDC, teens are recommended to get eight to ten hours of sleep every twenty-four hours. A study done by the CDC in 2015 found that of high school students, grades nine- twelve, 72.7% of students did not get at least eight hours of sleep at night. Sleep is an imperative thing that your body needs. When falling asleep, your body is: processing, restoring and strengthening. Your brain processes new skills, memories, and information, usually things that are important in everyday life; this is why students and children need longer sleep periods than adults. Students are set up to learn in a flawed system that sets up students to have sleep deprivation. Encouraging high school students to take hard class, sign up for extracurriculars, get a job and study for the SAT or ACT, then do college applications. How are students supposed to retain all the information and give their full attention during school when only 27.3% of students are getting enough sleep? Having a start time of roughly 7:30 A.M. means waking up at 6:00 A.M. When including extracurriculars, homework for classes, a job and still trying to maintain a healthy social life, kids are not getting the full eight hours recommended.
Sleep deprivation is a serious problem that can lead to fatal incidents. A study done by sleep and biological rhythms, to further look at the effects of sleep deprivation on cognitive and physical performances in university students, found that sleep deprivation does increase reaction time, meaning that your brain will take longer to react. An increase in reaction time can be fatal if put in a dangerous environment; like driving or manual labor. According to the sleep research society, drivers who had slept for less than four hours have crash risks similar to drivers with blood alcohol concentrations of 1.2g/L. That shows how dangerous driving with very little sleep is since driving while intoxicated is illegal because of the dangers it creates. Every day there are almost thirty deaths in the united states involving drunk drivers, if people that are sleep deprived are at the same risk, this is a problem that needs more attention ( NHTSA 1). Additionally, according to the John Hopkins website and sleep researcher Patrick Finan, Ph.D. 6,000 fatal car crashes are caused by drowsiness while driving. Furthermore, Finan reports one in twenty-five adults have fallen asleep at the wheel in the last month. Those statistics are just for adults, not including the teenagers that are new to driving. New drivers are already more at risk, but new drivers that are sleep deprived from school are even more at risk for getting into an accident. Additionally, adults and students that work in an environment with machines or other things that could be dangerous if not used correctly, are at risk for an injury. When working in an area with manual labor it is important to pay attention, however, with increased reaction time, it increases the chances of an on the job injury. By not getting an adequate amount of sleep at night you are putting yourself at danger.
Your overall physical well-being is an important part of living a happy healthy life for people of all ages. Sleep deprivation can affect it instrumentally. “Mounting evidence supports the hypothesis that chronically restricted and disrupted sleep has significant health consequences. By dysregulating immune and endocrine pathways, sleep may contribute to an increased risk of inflammatory mediated diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and depression” (Japanese Psychological Research 170). Based on this you can see there are many side effects and risks from sleep deprivation. The immune system and endocrine system are two vital systems in the human body that keep us alive and healthy. The immune system is responsible for protecting our bodies against harmful bacteria and viruses, by killing whatever it doesn’t recognize. According to Eric J. Olson, M.D., “lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick”. He then goes on to explain that cytokine, which some help to promote sleep and help with fighting diseases, is released while you are asleep. Sleep deprivation reduces the number of cytokines release causing your immune system to be weakened. This information is very important because you adults and kids are at schools stuck in classrooms with large amounts of other kids and their bacteria and germs. Being around the germs while over seventy-two percent of then have a weekend immune system from lack of sleep almost guarantees someone to, for example, catch a common cold. On the other hand, the endocrine system is responsible for regulating and controlling metabolism, growth, development and other factors through the release of hormones. Some of these hormones are only released while asleep, for example, the growth hormone, which is very important for children. Even in high school kids are still growing and over seventy-two percent of them are sleep deprived. Moreover, sleep deprivation over a long period of time can even lead to weight gain. Researchers in the nurses’ health study found that women who slept five hours or less per night were thirty-two percent more likely to gain a significant amount of weight over the course of a sixteen-year study than those who slept at least seven hours per night” (D’Arrigo 24). According to the national sleep foundation, people who have been slept deprived had an increased number of ghrelin, (a peptide that stimulates appetite) and a decreased number of leptin (a hormone that suppresses appetite). Additionally, a study done by Sleep & Biological Rhythms to further look at the effects of sleep deprivation on cognitive and physical performance in university students found that from a night of sleep deprivation there systolic blood pressure post-exercise was significantly higher. Also from a non-post-exercise point of view, Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D., from the mayo clinic says “ People who sleep five hours or less a night may be at higher risk of developing high blood pressure or worsening already high blood pressure”. High blood pressure can lead to stroke and heart attacks, both can be fatal.
The effects that sleep deprivation can have on your brain can be very damaging. It affects your mental health, cognitive abilities, and overall attitude for the day. Sleep deprivation puts you at great risk for depression, irritability, anxiety, forgetfulness and fuzzy thinking (Finan) “The sleep deprivation leads to severe mood changes such as depression and weak scientific performance” (Fundamentals of Mental Health 167). Sleep deprivation and mental illnesses go hand-in-hand, sleep deprivation can cause mental illnesses and mental illnesses can cause sleep deprivation. “Also, depression, anxiety, and stress can cause poor quality sleep in students” (Fundamentals of Mental Health 170) Mental illnesses play a big role, it can affect people’s job and schooling. “As you sleep, memories are reactivated, connections between brain cells are strengthened, and information is transferred from short to long-term. Without enough quality sleep, we can become more forgetful” (national sleep foundation) As previously stated, sleep is time for your brain to process and restore information. Your brain is unable to do that if you don’t fall asleep, or sleep for an adequate time.
A study done by the journal of American college health, looking at how sleep deprivation affects psychological variables related to college student’s cognitive performance, in which they had forty- four college students either sleep for eight hours or not sleep for 24 hours and then do a questionnaire/test. From the questionnaire they found that the sleep-deprived students did significantly worse than adequately rested students, however, the students who were sleep-deprived rated themselves at a higher concentration level than the students with an adequate amount of sleep. This shows that the amount of sleep does affect students’ cognitive abilities. Additionally, this study shows that students are unaware of the effect sleep deprivation has on their cognitive abilities. Not to mention when getting an insufficient amount of sleep, you are stuck feeling tired, unmotivated and emotional.
In 2016 over seven hundred and six billion dollars were put into the education system in the united states. All of that money put towards educating the youth so they can grow up and become doctors, lawyers, mechanics, business owners or whatever they want. But they skip class, school, and their education because they are tired. The students do not want to wake up at 6:00 A.M. to go to school to get their education. Over seventy percent of the students get less than eight hours of sleep every night and are sleep deprived. Something must be done to fix this issue. This is a serious problem. To help correct the issue of students not getting an adequate amount of sleep, they proposed moving the daily start time of high school to a later time. However, many do not like this idea because it will disrupt athletics, the bussing schedule, and how kids in the younger grades will be taken care of. When you move the start time to an hour later, the school will then get out an hour later. Many high school students with younger siblings have to pick up or walk home with their younger siblings after school. Athletic teams will then have practice later, which means they will be done an hour later than usual. Also, if they play teams out of the district, they may have to miss some class time to travel to other schools to keep the original game time. Not to mention the tight schedule busses are already on, the district may have to buy more buses and hire more bus drivers to fulfill the needs. However, a school district in Minnesota changed their start time from 7:25 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and through a survey, they found that the teachers, students, and parents were very much satisfied. They found their tardiness and absences went down, and teachers reported students being more awake during class. The teachers even reported being better prepared for the lessons they are teaching. By tinkering with the bussing routes, they were able to accommodate everyone at a little cost. For the athletic teams, the students miss twenty minutes of class once a week for the athletic season and teachers were very accommodating and helped them not fall behind. Education is one of the most important things a child can have, moving the start time to a late time will increase the number of students going to class.
Overall sleep is an essential part of our daily lives and affects how we go about our day, it can either make or break it. Sleep is something that we cannot live without, it is a time when our bodies can restore and strengthen but is also not taken as seriously as it should be. Although sleep takes up a third of our lives, sleep deprivation and the problems that come with sleep deprivation, are not widely known. Sleep deprivation poses a danger to your safety, mental health, and physical health. It can cause car crashes and on the job injuries, as well as anxiety, depression and other mental health illnesses. Not to mention that sleep deprivation can lower your immune system leaving you at risk pf getting the common cold, or worse. It can also put you at a higher risk of obesity and high blood pressure, as well as creating issues within your endocrine system. The issue that is sleep depression is even common in students, starting in middle school. Children are still growing at that age and should not be getting any less than 8 hours of sleep every night. High schoolers have started sleeping through classes more often, skipping classes, or skipping school altogether, just to get a few more hours of sleep. Students at universities pull all-nighters, where you stay awake all night and are not aware of the cognitive side effects it has. Students who pull all-nighters do worse on exams even though they are focused. Sleep deprivation is a big issue that needs more attention, it is an issue that affects your physical health, mental health, and your overall safety. It is and over-looked issue that’s needs to be addressed.