The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

This Week In Tiger Sports

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Americans Should Place More Value on Sleep


How many hours of sleep did you get last night? Were they enough to get you through the whole day? Were you able to focus during your evening activities? Did you feel more stressed than normal? Sleep, as explained on the National Institute of Health web site, “is a basic human need, like eating, drinking, and breathing.” Similarly to these other needs, sleep is essential for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.  

According to the Mayo Clinic, different age groups should aim for the following amounts of sleep: toddlers and preschoolers, 10-14 hours; elementary and middle school students, 9-12 hours; teens, 8-10 hours; and adults, 7 hours. Different age groups need different amounts of sleep, but all age groups are affected similarly when they don’t obtain the recommended amount of sleep. 

Sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining and enhancing the human body’s physical health. UC Davis Heath explains that not getting enough sleep is linked to many chronic health problems, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and strokes. Sleep deprivation also interferes with your hunger hormones (ghrelin and leptin); the hormone that makes you hungry increases, and the hormone that makes you feel full decreases. This imbalance can make you feel extra hungry and prone to overeating. Less sleep can also raise your daily blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart problems and strokes. In addition, not acquiring enough sleep for your body interferes with your blood sugar, which can lead to higher glucose levels and raise the likelihood of type 2 diabetes. Lastly, deep sleep plays a significant role in releasing hormones that support essential functions like growth, muscle development, puberty regulations, fertility, and cellular and tissue repair.

Many of us know that we tend to feel more rested and alert after a full night’s sleep, and when we are sleep-deprived, we often experience grumpiness and mental fog. Believe me, you don’t want to be responsible for dampening everyone’s spirits, because a negative mood can be contagious and affect those around you. A good night’s sleep also enhances one’s ability to focus, to be creative, and to learn new skills. From personal experience, I can attest that when I don’t get enough rest before a test, I end up being anxious and performing poorly on the exam. If you want to be a student with straight As, the student that everyone else wants to be, the student that all the parents tell their children to look up to, then it is definitely necessary to  get a good night’s rest; If you don’t then you’ll notice that you may struggle with concentrating, which will lead you to the likelihood of making mistakes and under performing. The next time you do poorly on an exam, ask yourself: Did I go to bed early enough? 

Moreover, not acquiring enough sleep also has the potential to be a safety hazard, as one is more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel or experience a loss of coordination. The Zebra  reports on drowsy driving; 40% of drivers have admitted they have fallen asleep behind the wheel and it is estimated that there are 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries due to drowsy drivers each year. I genuinely believe you wouldn’t want to be among those who contribute to these deaths and injuries. If you are ever in a situation where your vision begins to blur or you start to feel less control of your car, pull over so you don’t put any danger upon yourself or those around you. 

Very few people realize the importance of sleep, and even if they do, they still decide not to take it seriously. I know most teenagers are staying up until the wee hours on school nights, but me personally could never. I’m in bed with the lights out by 10:30pm. Unfortunately, I miss out on all of the late night texts from friends, the late night face-times, where my friends debrief their whole day and worst of all I am unable to finish the episode of the show I’m watching. Although these may seem like good enough reasons to stay up late, they are most definitely not. Friday and Saturdays are a whole different story, as you can stay up late because you get to sleep the following day. The weekend is for staying up late with friends and finishing the episode of the show you’re currently watching. 

 Not recognizing the importance of sleep and not making it a priority will affect one’s overall health, well-being, and perhaps even, future success. It is recommended to adopt  healthy sleep habits to ensure a better quality of life. If you are having trouble falling asleep, the CDC recommends going to bed at the same time consistently throughout the week, falling asleep in a dark, quiet room, removing any electronics from your room, and exercising daily. These are all ways that could help you get a good night’s rest. 

All in all, many of us don’t realize the value of sleep—until it gives us trouble. To all fellow teenagers out there, the next time your parents tell you to hit the hay, you should listen to them because you don’t want to end up like a zombie during the school day. Nevertheless, is it Friday yet? 

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About the Contributor
Ella Plotkin, Guest Writer
Ella Plotkin (’27) is excited to cover stories discussing current events, entertainment and sports. In her free time, she enjoys playing soccer, lacrosse and basketball. She also likes to travel, listen to music, and spend time with friends.