By Mason Pendleton
It’s a few hours before school and you’re stuck staring at your alarm clock. It ticks by slower and slower. After counting sheep and chugging warm milk you realize that no matter how hard you try, you cannot force yourself to close your eyes and sleep. The good news is that it’s something more common than you think.
According to sleepassociation.org, Insomnia is being unable to sleep for a chronic period of time and is one of the most common sleep related disorders in adults. 37.9 percent of people say they fall asleep during the day due to a severe lack of sleep. Insomnia can also be caused by illnesses such as arthritis and asthma. The medications taken for depression and even the common cold can keep someone awake well into the night.
Nurse Jennifer Caldwell has plenty of students who come in for sleep deprivation, or insomnia.
“I would say probably on a daily basis it happens,” Caldwell said. “I understand why some of them aren’t getting enough sleep. A lot of them are involved in activities after school or they work late.”
It’s simple; students get caught up in schoolwork and personal business. As young adults, they begin to explore their horizons and to accept jobs to prepare for college.
The Sleep Association states that 37 percent of teens report having short sleep durations at night. Students need 8-10 hours of sleep if they can manage, but unfortunately, senior Makenna Taylor is a part of the 37 percent of teens struggling to go to bed at a decent time. Taylor discussed her circumstances that make an early bedtime difficult.
“I work at night til’ 9 or 10.” Taylor stated, “[I go to bed] anywhere between 1 to 3 AM [on nights with homework]”.
Sometimes, issues with insomnia can actually be a completely different situation. The National Sleep Foundation warns that Sleep Apnea is a neurological condition in which the airways to a person’s lungs becomes obstructed in ones sleep. This causes fragmented sleep as the brain continuously wakes up the body in order to breathe. Dana Griffin, WCHS health teacher, is afflicted with a form of Sleep Apnea.
“I thought I was sleeping well, and I actually talked to a doctor and I talked to them about it and they did a sleep study, and what they found was at the different levels of sleep, I was waking up like 33 times an hour. Waking up, and that during some of those times, I was not breathing in my sleep and that then my oxygen level would get down to like 50 percent sometimes at night,” Griffin said
Fixing these problems can be quite simple, for more extreme cases, talking to a doctor like Griffin, or establishing a sleeping routine for those who don’t suffer from acute sleeping disorders. The body needs something to base its patterns off of in terms of a establishing a habit, such as chewing your nails when you’re stressed in order to relax or maybe your routine in the morning to get ready for school, ensuring you don’t forget your lanyard!
While there’s no way to guarantee you’ll go to bed by the same time every night, creating a routine you’re willing to stick to will give you and your body a goal. It does not necessarily need to be sleeping at a certain time.
Nightly traditions that simply prepare your body for bed are also worth looking into. Caldwell has her own suggestions for students who cannot sleep.
“Do the same thing every night whether it be eat a small snack turning the lights down low and just kind of getting into that normal routine and trying to go to sleep at the same time every night,” Caldwell said.
Certain foods and drugs can also keep many young adults from getting proper rest. According to sleepfoundation.org, drinks like coffee and soda can disrupt your sleep by keeping your brain wired. Also, eating heavy meals before bed can cause your stomach discomfort that keeps you awake as your body tries to digest. Teens should avoid things with nicotine and caffeine because they go hand and hand as stimulants that keep you up at night.
“Avoid caffeine; that’s a big one,” Caldwell said. “A lot of students will try to do the energy drinks to keep themselves awake for the extra curricular activities but try to avoid the caffeine, especially in the evening time and/or at night of course.”
Insomnia and sleep deprivation are common medical disorders that afflict many Americans worldwide. According to The Sleep Association, Students need eight to 10 hours of sleep each night, meaning if students manage their time during the day and at night, they can achieve the sleep they desire.
Work and school may get in the way but students can also take charge during school and by getting their assignments done ahead of time.
“I think they need to manage their time better during the day, maybe try to get more school work done during the school day while they’re here [or] maybe they need to back off on their jobs a little bit,” Griffin said.
Sleep is an important aspect in staying healthy.