Meaning And Importance Of Sleep For Adolescent

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Every adolescent either loves or hates having to go to sleep at night, but one thing that can be proven is that children that get more sleep at night are known to perform better in school. All teenagers are going to want to get as much sleep as they possibly can, but the more sleep that each adolescent is capable of achieving, the more likely that they can focus better in their classes at school. Although a lot of people generally tend to believe that achieving and keeping a good quantity of sleep has no real impact on adolescents’ academic performance and achievement. However, there are numerous articles and studies that strongly show and prove otherwise. Therefore, the lack of sleep in adolescents can and does negatively affect their overall academic performance and ability to pay attention in school.

Sleep is a very crucial activity that is quite necessary to keep one’s body functioning. Now, when it comes down to it, adolescents typically do not truly understand how important getting a good night’s sleep can be and how much it can and does negatively affect their academic performance. Sleep is a must-have for an individual’s growth, health, learning and memory strengthening. Therefore, without it, adolescents would not be able to perform as well in school as they would be able to if they got enough sleep at night. Sleep deprivation is a lack of sleep that can have a negative effect on one’s cognitive functions. Sleep deprivation is known to cause things like lack of attention and failure to concentrate. Sleep deprivation can also affect an adolescents moods and behaviour as well. So, sleep deprivation doesn’t only affect adolescents’ academic performance, it also has a negative impact on their ability to focus, pay attention, their moods, and many other things as well. Adolescents are not doing badly in school because they couldn’t sleep well just one night during the week, they do poorly in school because they can not sleep well or keep a good sleep schedule every single night during that week. Moreover, Fenn explains that “Little is known about students’ perceptions towards sleep deprivation and its relationship to academic performance”(2015). Fenn is saying that students do not know much about sleep deprivation and about its affecting their academic performance. Usually, students’ perception of sleep deprivation and its relationship to their academic performance is that it has no true negative impact. They do not usually realize and recognize the many negative impacts that sleep deprivation has on not only their academic performance but also their cognitive functions(Fenn 2015). Sleep deprivation does not only affect what an adolescent does physically, it can also affect how they think or respond to certain situations. However, Sleep is indeed a crucial factor for an individual. It is especially crucial for adolescents, health, growth, learning and it also strengthens one’s memory. Adolescents need a more decent amount of sleep because sleep will help them to increase their growth and brain development. If an adolescent is having any sleeping problems and it is not accurately handled, it could lead to students suffering from sleep deprivation and successively having poor academic performance and achievement.

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Studies have proven that sleep problems and sleep deprivation in adolescents have led to issues as serious as an academic failure. Titova et al states that “Our findings indicate that reports of sleep disturbance and short sleep duration are linked to academic failure in adolescents”(2014). Adolescents are unable to keep a good, healthy, and consistent sleep schedule through not just one week, but the entire school year; that is what truly has a negative impact on them and causes them to do so poorly in school. College students and high school students are known to dread the all-nighter that they are about to pull, it has been considered as an essential pillar that all college students experience. Most high school and college students most likely know that they are depriving themselves of sleep, and that it is very bad to do so. When they choose to pull an all-nighter to do things such as study for an exam, they are actually just setting themselves up for a poor academic performance and maybe even failure on the day of the exam. Between juggling a full or part school schedule, sometimes work, and a personal life, when pulling all nighters to study for tests, one must take advantage of any relaxation and down time available to catch up on sleep.

Furthermore, starting the school day at a later time would most definitely help promote adolescent academic achievement, along with their ability to focus and pay attention. Starting the school day at a later time could also help improve adolescent moods and attitudes. If their moods attitudes towards school and in general improve, it could cause them to be more willing to participate and do school work and get it done. Various students who are forced to wake up early to get to school on time, are not able to get the desired amount of sleep needed to successfully pay attention in all classes at school. Now, it’s not always the adolescents fault for having trouble sleeping, some have serious sleeping problems. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep problem that some people face, even adolescents. Obstructive sleep apnea is where an individual stops breathing for a short period of time in their sleep. PAP is a positive airway pressure treatment that was made to help treat obstructive sleep apnea. It is said that adolescents who get prescribed PAP tend to show substantial improvements when it comes to their ability to pay attention and function academically. Non-adherent adolescents, adolescents who were not prescribed PAP, contributed to a drop when it came to being able to pay attention and function academically(Beebe, Kelly, 2011). Even when there is a serious issue causing you to do poorly in school like obstructive sleep apnea, there are treatments to try and help improve it.

Waking up at a later time, so that would mean sleeping in for another hour or so, has been proven to actually help and benefit those adolescents quite a bit. Teenagers sleep less than they did as children, as adolescents get older they start sleeping less and less at night. They start staying up later to play on electronics or to finish homework. With starting at a later time, adolescents are able to get an extra hour of sleep and therefore are proven to be more capable of focusing and remaining focused in all of their classes throughout the school day. According to Heissel and Norris, “Important memory formation and consolidation processes occur overnight, as the brain replays patterns of activity exhibited during learning. Insufficient sleep also reduces alertness and attention levels the next morning, which likely affects students’ ability to learn”(2019). So basically, important things in the brain that have to do with memory happen overnight, the next day while learning at school, the brain will replay all of the information it memorized the night before. On the other hand, if the brain was not given the time to process the information, remembering it might be a challenge. Also, not getting enough sleep at night decreases an adolescent’s ability to be alert and pay attention the following morning.

Surprisingly, an individual’s body can also have a very negative effect on their academic performance. As children start to enter the puberty stage of life, bodily changes tend to delay the onset of sleep and it, therefore, makes it harder for them to wake up early in the morning. By the time an individual reaches the end of middle school, there is a quite large cut off among biological sleep patterns and early-morning school schedules. Students are forced to wake up at an early time for school and are having unhealthy sleep schedules. With getting that extra hour in the morning before school starts, students are getting an extra hour of sleep. The environment can truly have a more negative than positive effect on adolescents academic performance. In the morning, light that shines on the outside of the eyelids can help prompt brain processes to increase alertness; darkness at night increases feelings of tiredness. Sleep plays a hefty role in both short- and long-term developmental regulation of cognition, emotions, and behaviour. Stormark says that “Concurrent sleep problems, in terms of children’s difficulties initiating and maintaining sleep at ages 10–12 years did not increase the risk for poor academic performance after controlling for mental health problems. However, if the sleep problems persisted from ages 7–9 until ages 10–12, it increased the risk for poor academic performance, even after controlling for mental health problems”(2019). If an adolescents sleep issues continue to happen for years, they are most likely at risk for having a poor academic performance or for having an academic failure. Stormark goes on to explain how adolescents who tend to have shorter sleep spans on both school days and weekend days were more prone to fail at least one subject at school(2019).

When an adolescent doesn’t get enough sleep at night during the entire week, some try to make up for that by staying in bed late after waking up in the morning. This causes adolescents to make their irregular cycle even worse than before. Playing on electronics always ends up with a pretty sleepless night. They get less sleep at night because they don’t put down their electionic at a reasonable time and go to sleep, they stay on it for the majority of the night. In the end, this falls back on them and the poor decisions that they have made. Therefore, when they go to school the next day, they are quite tired and they have a lower attention span.

Everyone can agree that they like to sleep and as a matter of fact, your body and brain not only like to sleep too, they also need to sleep. Think of it like this, your brain sleeps whenever your body sleeps. Therefore, when you go to sleep at night, your brain is given time to memorize what you have learned that day and it gives your body time to relax and grow. Some people believe that sleep and academic performance have nothing to do with each other. Despite these quite false opinions, getting a good night’s sleep has been proven to help and benefit a lot when it comes to an adolescent needing to pay attention and focus in school the very next morning. Therefore, in all reality and based on facts, lack of sleep does negatively affect adolescents’ academic performance.  


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