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Sleep is a huge, important, and fundamental part of everyone’s life. Along with eating healthy and exercise, it is one of the key factors that contribute to a healthy life. Sleep is a fundamental physiological process for people. When we lack sleep, we work less successfully, feel worn out and peevish, commit more errors, are less innovative, and may even diet.  “In the same way a feeling of hunger reminds us of the basic human need to eat, a feeling of sleepiness reminds us of our essential need to sleep”(“WHY DO WE SLEEP”). It is recommended to get 8-10 hours of sleep. Children especially need adequate amounts of sleep to prosper in life. Sleep is an instrumental key to success for growing children and has a big impact on their education, health, and social life.Sleep was not always such a highly viewed aspect of our lives. “Until the 1950s, most people thought of sleep as a passive, dormant part of our daily lives. We now know that our brains are very active during sleep. Moreover, sleep affects our daily functioning and our physical and mental health in many ways that we are just beginning to understand”.(“What Is Sleep”) “In a study done by Brown University in 1999, it found that the teens who went to sleep on average at 11 p.m. and got up at 6 did better in school, than those who had less than 6 hours of sleep”(Do Teens Need More Sleep?”). Furthermore, “Statistics show that more than a quarter of today’s teens in America are sleeping less than seven hours nightly” (Orr) Even though an individuals sleep needs may vary if it starts affecting you negatively you are not getting enough sleep. Growing children, teens included, tend to be irresponsible when it comes to their sleeping schedule. They consume immense amounts of caffeine through coffee and soda without thinking about the possible effects it may have on them. Caffeine is a natural substance that can be extracted from plants, and is a type of drug that promotes alertness; these drugs are called “stimulants”. Caffeine acts as an “adenosine receptor antagonist”. Adenosine is a substance in your body that promotes sleepiness, caffeine blocks the adenosine receptor to keep you from feeling sleepy(“Sleep and Caffeine”). Soft drinks (mostly darker sodas), especially, are a big problem among adolescents because anyone can easily get their hands on them. Moreover they are cheap and cost less than even water so people are geared toward buying soda. Coffee is more of a problem as you get older, but new trends such as ready made starbucks drinks have been messing with teens sleeping schedules. Many teens use caffeine in order to stay up late and do homework. Being a teenager is a very stressful time, school becomes more important than ever, and there is a lot of pressure to perform well so that you can move onto the next stage of your life. You are bombarded by a huge workload that needs to be finished at all costs. Furthermore, during the teenage years social pressure is at its highest and many teens are trying to learn a balance between pleasing their parents, their friends, and themselves. This in itself can affect their sleeping schedule drastically as stress leads to long sleepless nights thinking about situations that you, half the time, cannot change. Another reason that makes it difficult for teens to get enough sleep is their circadian rhythms. People noticed that they tend to feel energized and drowsy around the same times every day, this is because of their circadian rhythm. “It is basically a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the back of the brain, and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It is also known as the sleep/wake cycle”. Teen brains have different circadian rhythms from those of children and adults. “In Teens, circadian rhythms make them stay up late at night by signaling their bodies to sleep later in the morning”(“Do teens need more sleep?”). This can lead to them being late to school or doing poorly in school all together. Not getting enough sleep can severely impact you academically. A lack of sleep leads you to falling asleep which makes you take away close to nothing from classes.While this problem might not seem serious, the implications of missing classroom lectures and assignments  are big ones. Sleeping during class can cause grades to suffer and make the student less respected by teachers and fellow students. While it might seem like a great idea at the time to snooze during a boring class, the person that is truly hurt by it is the sleeper themselves. Classrooms naps can also distract other students who might be sitting next to the sleeper or staring at him/her while the teacher is trying to teach the class. Moreover, sleeping in class may lead you to miss a test date that has been scheduled or rescheduled, miss an important lecture, and even class might end and you might be left behind. When you do not get enough sleep you will not be able to concentrate on your tasks properly. First, when children are in class, they can have trouble paying attention because of their difficulty focusing. They can miss important verbal lessons due to inattention or they may be unable to complete tasks in the classroom. Second, children form their memories best during sleep. Children who sleep well at night will remember the previous day’s lessons better than children who are sleep deprived. “Not only are teens who do not get enough sleep more likely to doze off in class and are less able to concentrate, learn, and solve problems, said sleep expert Mary Carskadon, who headed the Brown University study”(“Do Teens Need More Sleep?”).Research shows that lack of sleep in teens can also be dangerous. Of the estimated 100,000 car crashes a year, drivers ages 15 to 24, linked to drivers’ falling asleep, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administrators(“Do Teens Need More Sleep”). It is also proven that continual sleep depression plays a strong part in heart attacks and strokes in later life, as well as depression and suicide. Sleep is essential for a healthy heart. People who do not sleep enough are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease—regardless of age, weight, smoking, and exercise habits. Getting enough good quality sleep is important if you want to lower your risk of these conditions. It is not completely clear why less sleep is detrimental to heart health, but researchers understand that sleeping too little causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes like glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammation; the same may be true for oversleeping.One of the reasons we know how vital sleep is to the heart is that patients with sleep apnea (which causes them to wake frequently throughout the night) often have compromised heart health. This is because without long, deep periods of rest, certain chemicals are activated that keep the body from achieving extended periods in which heart rate and blood pressure are lowered. Recent research has shown that too little sleep earlier in life could take its toll as well. For example, in one study, adolescents who did not sleep well were at greater risk for developing cardiovascular problems. “Those teens had higher cholesterol levels, a higher body mass index, larger waist sizes, higher blood pressure, and an increased risk of hypertension.”(“Poor Sleep in Teens”). It is easy to see how these alterations in childhood health could snowball into major concerns later on, and why it is important to protect sleep at every age. Over time, a lack of sleep can lead to higher blood pressure during the day and a greater chance of cardiovascular problems. Many studies have shown the relationship between sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease. One found that over an eight-year period, men with severe sleep apnea were 58 percent more likely to develop congestive heart failure, than men without the nighttime breathing disorder. But it does not take a severe underlying sleep disorder to see effects on the heart. Poor sleeping, as a result of changing work schedules or poor sleep habits, for example, can put you at risk as well. “A recent study says that healthy teens who slept less than 6.5 hours a night were 2.5 times more likely to have elevated blood pressure compared to those who slept longer”(“Poor Sleep in Teens”).Another drawback of not getting enough sleep is growth. Growth hormones are released during sleep and if you are not getting enough, it can affect your overall growth. “During sleep a hormone called human growth hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland, a gland located at the base of the brain”(“Sleep Deprivation and Its Effect on Child Growth”). “Growth hormones (GH) have important roles in training and recovery. It is also released throughout the day during exercise and physical stress, however for kids, the majority of GH release occurs shortly after deep sleep begins”(“Sleep Deprivation and Its Effect on Child Growth”). “The GH stimulates and coordinates the growth of all body parts from bones, to muscles, to nerves. In addition to promoting growth in childhood, the hormone helps maintain healthy bodily-tissue during adulthood. Deep, non-REM sleep that occurs early in the night seems to be especially important for GH secretion”(“Sleep Deprivation and Its Effect on Child Growth”).Disruption to this phase of sleep can lead to severe growth deficiency. “A recently published study showed that children with growth hormone deficiency, experienced substantially less sleep and lower quality of sleep compared to children with normal level of growth hormone”(“Sleep Deprivation and Its Effect on Child Growth”).One’s social life can also be affected by a lack of sleep. Looking your best is as simple as getting a good night’s rest. Unfortunately, too many people are not getting the proper amount of beauty sleep they deserve. “It is not just a luxury; sleep is a necessity, experts say”(“Rest Can Help You Look Your Best”). “When adults do not get at least eight hours of sleep (10 or more for children and teens), it can impair memory, reaction time, and your social life”). Sleep deprivation also can take a toll on one’s appearance.There is a tendency for dark circles and bags to form around the eyes if there is a lack of sleep usually accompanied by an overall weary appearance.(“Rest Can Help You Look Your Best”) “Recognizing the emotional expressions of someone else changes everything about whether or not you decide to interact with them, and in return, whether they interact with you,” said study senior author Matthew Walker, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley”(“The Sleep-Deprived Brain Can Mistake Friends for Foes”). Overall, a lack of sleep will make you less appealing to others.Not only will people who do not get enough sleep be less appealing to others, they will be too tired to socialize and create new relationships. Many teens struggle in making friends already, not getting enough sleep will make it even harder to make new friends and colleagues. Sleep can also affect family relationships. Both immediate family members such as a spouse or children, and even more distant associations with parents and siblings can perish because of a lack of sleep. “Results from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States suggest that frequent family tension and inadequate emotional support are strongly associated with troubled sleep”(“The Sleep-Deprived Brain Can Mistake Friends for Foes.”). Furthermore, while social relationships generally encourage a good lifestyle, this is the exact opposite when dealing with rocky family relationships.Sleep is a biological drive, just like hunger or thirst. It is something you have to do to survive. People, especially children, need to start getting enough sleep a priority in order to avoid long term fatal health, educational, and social consequences. They should try setting a definite bedtime and rise time, eliminating time wasters during the day, avoiding caffeine after 5pm, and even starting school later, are all possible solutions.

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