It seems that teenagers are affected by their erratic sleep schedule more than they thought. According to a new study, sleep deprivation endangers teenagers, making them more prone to bad decisions that put their life at risk. The biggest problem here is the educational system that obligates the adolescents to wake up very early in the morning.
A previous study showed that teenagers are tormented by the educational system. Because they are going through hormonal changes, their brain is incapable of releasing melatonin before 11 PM. But they must be up and running by 6 AM, the latest so that they could get to their classes that sometimes start at 7 or 7:30 AM.
Anne Wheaton, a CDC epidemiologist, decided to analyze the behavior and sleep patterns of 50,370 adolescents, all high school students. Wheaton wanted to see if sleep deprivation endangers teenagers and what could be done in order for them to get a good night sleep.
According to the results, most high-school teenagers are not getting enough Zs during the night. This, combined with the erratic behavior that is specific to their age, afternoon naps, and the need of oversleeping during the weekend results in serious sleep deprivation.
And it not just their body and brains who suffer because of the lack of constant snooze. Sleep deprivation endangers teenagers in the sense that it interferes with their capacity of thinking logical and making intelligent decisions.
According to Wheaton’s research, an adolescent that is sleep deprived is more likely to engage in risky behavior, than a teenager that gets a proper amount of sleep every night.
Among the risky behaviors that the epidemiologist describes in her article, there is drunk driving, climbing aboard a car that is driven by an inebriated individual, extreme sports, and, ironically, staying up late at night.
Teenagers go through hormonal changes that affect their bodies and brains. They have mood swings, thy are not able to fall asleep early, they are not able to wake up early, they tend to develop edgy personalities and a taste for rebellion.
Sleep deprivation usually causes irritability, impulsive thinking, erratic behavior, and the tendency of taking poor decisions.
If you mix these two together, you get a very dangerous personality cocktail. Unfortunately, most of the US adolescents are experiencing these emotions because they are sleep deprived.
No matter if it’s from staying up late, drinking too much coffee, waking up too early, taking too many afternoon naps, or sleeping in on the weekend trying to sneak in some extra Z’s, teenagers don’t have a regular sleep pattern.
Sleep deprivation endangers teenagers, and the change must first be made in the educational system, that must be done to modify its schedule in order for the adolescents to get enough sleep.
Image source: Wikimedia
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