“I go to bed at around 10:30–11:00 [p.m.] and get up at 5:30 [a.m.]” says Deric, age 15. And how does this affect his school performance? “I sleep in class,” states Deric.

Another student, LeAnn, 17, says, “I go to bed at 10:00 [p.m.] and get up for school at 5:20 [a.m.].” She also says, “[The lack of sleep] affects me doing my homework because when I get home I just shut down.”

According to the National Sleep Foundation, an organization that conducts studies regarding sleep, only 15% of teens get 8 ½ hours of sleep on school nights, but teens need 8 ½ to 9 ¼ hours of sleep each night.

Sleep is just as important as breathing or eating, says the National Sleep Foundation. They report that not enough sleep can limit one’s ability to concentrate, lead to acne and other skin problems, and cause impatience or aggressiveness. A lack of sleep can also cause irregular eating habits and reduce the strength of the immune system, along with heightening the effects of caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.

According to TeensHealth, studies have shown that teens’ circadian rhythm—the body’s 24-hour cycle of activity—is reset when they sleep irregularly, making it harder to fall asleep or wake up at reasonable times.  Thus, sometimes teens can get more sleep, other times teens cannot fall asleep before having to be up early for school or extracurricular activities.  

According to WebMD, as people gets older they sleep more lightly and get less deep sleep. This means less time for the body to relax and repair.

Sleep is the natural state of not being conscience. Sleep consists of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) cycle and the non-REM cycle.

REM sleep is when dreaming occurs and is closest of all stages to actually being awake. This is because of increased amounts of brain activity during this time.

Non-REM sleep contains four stages. According to WebMD, in stage one, a person can be easily awakened. In stage two, the body’s heart rate slows down and temperature declines. Stages three and four are phases of deep sleep when the body restores itself.

What can you do to resolve the problem of sleep deprivation? Naps are a good idea, unless they are too long or too close to bedtime; the nap might make falling asleep at night difficult. On the other hand, caffeine, exercise and last minute homework late at night can make it difficult to fall asleep. Writing notes of things to remember before bed can eliminate stress. Finally, keep it “cool, quiet and dark” at bedtime and try to have a set “bed and wake-time,” states the Sleep Foundation.



  1. Melissa,
    I agree with your article. As a teacher my student are often sleepy. I am amazed that the school administration does not understand the science of teens. Personally, I would like to sleep in a little bit longer. I am worried that the sports programs would suffer because of the later staring time for practice and games.

  2. I agree that teens need more sleep; in fact, I myself usually find that I have to get nine to ten hours to feel fully rested. However, this isn’t always possible with my busy schedule. Sometimes, I’ll only get eight or so hours of sleep and feel completely tired the next day, but then other times I’ll get around six hours or so of sleep and be fine the next day. I wonder if this has something to do with REM cycle?