Warren Zevon, American songwriter and musician, once said, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Ironically, sleep is one of the basic functions of life we need to survive. Teenagers take a good night’s sleep for granite, often skipping it for a variety of reasons. However, the body will never be at its peak performance without a good night’s rest. Due to other after school activities, responsibilities, or habits teenagers find themselves in circumstances where they are up late at night missing out on hours sleep. Some of these circumstances that cause sleep deprivation are out of a teen’s control, while others are not.
When sports coaches schedule practices late in the evening this often means teens are not going to get a good night’s sleep. This situation is clearly out of a teen’s control as they must respect their coach’s decision. In the beginning of November, the Middletown Football team held a meeting to talk about our practice in preparation for the last game of the season. Because the last football game stretches two weeks into the winter sport season those playing a winter sport and football, such as myself, had to attend both of their practices. Coach Donahue, the football coach, arranged for me to attend wrestling at 2:30pm to 5:30pm then go to football practice 6pm to 8pm. I would not get home until 8:30pm. After eating dinner and finishing homework I was in bed by 11pm. It was then my responsibility to wake up at 5:30am to prepare for school and do it all over again. Having practice scheduled late in the evening deprived me of hours of sleep and it showed as I would find myself a sleep during my classes. In addition to late sports practices, a teenager’s part-time job also can lead to sleep deprivation.
Some teenagers rely on their job to help support their family or save to support themselves later in college. My best friend, Ylexis, has a part-time job at the Middletown Galleria AMC. She took this job because she needs the money for college. On a regular basis her shift adviser will schedule her to work after school at 4pm to 8pm. She complains to me all the time in the most vitreous tone that she does not get enough sleep because when she gets home she is responsible for preparing dinner for her younger siblings. After completing her homework she is normally in bed at 10pm or later. Because this job deprives her of time she needs to sleep, Ylexis has talked about quitting then taking a year off after high school to work for college. Perhaps the most common reason for sleep deprivation in teens is also the one in their control: procrastination. Teens tend to put off major assignments that are not due the next day. My friend Jose is a great example.
Jose is the biggest Call of Duty fan I have ever known, and it hurt him tremendously in the grade book. He told me when Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 was released, he played online until 1am. As Jose was going to sleep for the night he remembered a two page essay due the next day in Psychology class. Jose scrambled to put what he could together, constructing his essay until five in the morning. Upon turning in the essay the teacher told Jose he looked as though he were going to fall out from exhaustion. Jose received a D- on his essay, and he regrets ever having purchased Call of Duty. There are a variety of circumstances, some in a teen’s control and others that are not, that could cause sleep deprivation. Whether it be a sport, a job, or a bad habit it is vital a teenager get an ample amount of sleep. Sleep is needed to keep the body working efficiently. I do not envy anyone who is caught in all these situations at one time.