Sleep deprivation in teenagers and young adults is severely damaging to your mental health. Data from sleepfoundation.org reports that on average, youth ages 13-18 need 8-10 hours of sleep a day while youth over 18 need at least seven hours of shut eye. The number of teens that actually meet that recommendation is probably pretty low, which is not good. Sleep problems factor in from 50% to 80% of mental health problems for many people, according to verywellhealth.com.
The quality of your sleep is connected deeply to your mental health – which, admittedly, is something I struggle with. But getting sleep is a must. Fun fact: You spend ⅓ of your life asleep on average. It is just as essential for survival as eating food. And just like food, it should be treated with care. Sleep and mental health are a symbiotic relationship. They both affect each other; lack of sleep can cause mental health deterioration, a lack of focus in daily performance, and physical pain such as eye sores, headaches, and paleness.
Think you can stay awake with caffeine or sugar products? Think again! Those things may be a temporary solution, but your body will become dependent on them, and will not be able to function unless given the energy boost as expected. People who have sleep disorders or a bad sleep schedule are also more prone to depression, anxiety, and a reduced attention span.
So what can we do about this? Something I’ve been doing to get more sleep as a high schooler is staying off screens. It’s a hard feat, but by ceasing active stimulation, it can help your brain ease. Add in some nice non-caffeinated tea (chamomile is an excellent choice) and you’re good! I will also recommend avoiding late-night snacking. Even something as small as a bag of chips or cookies can keep you up and postpone your sleep. Of course, you should always maintain a good sleep schedule and set boundaries of when you can allow yourself to stop working and sleep.
I recommend you do more research into it by looking through official medical sources and mental health newsletters.
Stay safe and get some rest!
By Ezan Charo, Junior, ChiArts