I Can't Sleep and Neither Can You.

Sleep disorders are a huge problem in all age groups, especially teens. It is recommended that all teens get about 7-9 hours of sleep every night, but only 15 percent of all teens reach that amount.

Statistics for lack of sleep from students and reasons for it, according to an article on The Tartan.

A lack of sleep is something I could relate to more than other personality disorders such as eating disorders or depression. Sadly, I am NOT part of the 15 percent of teens that get 9 hours of sleep EVERY NIGHT. A lot of teen sleep problems are caused by homework, extracurricular activities, and lack of health prioritization (this is only part of a whole list). I, along with millions of other teenagers, (sometimes) fail at time management when it comes to homework. This happens very frequently with lots of other teenagers, but homework and extracurricular activities are NOT classified as sleep disorders, right?

A lot of teens suffer from what is called Insomnia. One in three people will have insomnia at one point in their lives. Insomnia is when someone simply has trouble falling or staying asleep, or simply when a teenager fails to get enough sleep throughout the day. If insomnia lasts for at least a month with no relief at all, then doctors can call it chronic, meaning there’s more than one cause to it. The most common cause is stress, but a lot of other factors can lead to it, such as home/family problems, and physical discomfort. Exposing your eyes to sensitive light can also take away sleep.

There is also a sleep disorder called Sleep Apnea, which seems worse than insomnia, despite it being less common. Sleep apnea is when breathing is restricted for up to a few seconds at a time due to blocked airways. There’s more than one kind of sleep apnea, one being called obstructive sleep apnea. This happens when the muscles in the back of your throat are relaxed, causing them to close in. The other form of sleep apnea, called central sleep apnea, is when the brain fails to transmit signals to breathing muscles.  

Statistics say that over 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, and 70 million suffer from disorders of sleep. They both detract sleep, and lead to more stress and depression, and depression could lead to countless other diseases and disorders, including Alzheimer’s, a disease that shrinks the brain. Also, this affects more of the younger generations (millennials) than Gen Xers and Boomers. The American Psychological Association says it’s mainly because of stress, and that one third of teens say that stress has left them lying awake at night. The stress level has increased over the past year for the teenagers who don’t sleep for 7-9 hours every night.

Top: Percentages of what stress results in the most; Bottom: Percentages of how much of each generation has sleep disorders; both charts are according to the American Psychological Association.  

Based on my research, it turns out that a majority of all teenagers in this generation don’t get 7-9 hours of sleep every night, and their lack of sleep results in multiple things, such as stress and depression. The causes include(but aren’t limited to) homework, sleep apnea, and insomnia. I’ve heard this from multiple and professional websites, but I plan to hear what my close friends say, through surveys and asking them in person.

My annotated bibliography is right here.

Comments (2)

Michaela Berger (Student 2021)
Michaela Berger

Orig. Research idea: Put a survey in the adv. memo: 1. What time do you go to bed on weeknights 2. What time do you wake up on weekdays? 3. What about the weekend? Bedtime: 4. What time do you wake up on the weekends? 5. Do you feel rested on school days? 6. Do you feel rested on weekends?

Michaela Berger (Student 2021)
Michaela Berger

This is a very informative essay. I think it is cool how you put some types of sleep disorders. I would love to know what some symptoms are, how they are treated, and what they may do in the long run. Rock on!