Catchings Z’s is what a Bee needs


Kit Begovich and Holly Liatti

Getting a full 8 hours of sleep each night in the life of a teen is very unlikely, but why? If sleep is so important to the body and the mind, how then does sleep deprivation become such a common disorder in student’s lives?

Teenagers have always had a desire for independence and freedom, therefore taking on so many responsibilities, when the lack of sleep is involved, can be detrimental. Becoming more mature means entering the adult world and taking on more responsibilities – possibly more than some students can handle.

Activities and events after school such as family time, extra curricular activities, homework, eating and getting ready for bed are all factors in a teens daily life that can interfere with a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep will also affect a teen’s ability to learn and potentially hinder memory. According to MHS health teacher Mitch Charvat, Short term memory from the day is stored in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, but we don’t always make it to that critical point of sleep, and that is what contributes to memory loss – more so, the inability to retain events. “The REM cycle is the most important stage of the sleep cycle. In that part of the cycle, muscles are, essentially paralyzed and our bodies are completely relaxed,” said Mr. Charvat.

Consider this: according to a new survey from Citigroup and Seventeen magazine, “80 percent of students have a part-time job by the time they’re 17 years old.” A minimum wage job usually requires 3-4 hours each shift. So, if a student goes to school on average of 7 hours a day, plus the 4 hour shift, that already adds up to a longer day that most adults work. They found that most students are involved in activities after school to include, but not limited to: sport programs, clubs, chores, studying and homework, watching tv or socializing. After adding all the activity hours up, 6 hours ended as the final sum. That’s 17 hours of a teen’s day that is occupied by normal activities. That leaves 6 to 7 hours for sleeping.

“So many more things now that distract us like social media and technology, so many things that keep us in touch kinda with the world and it is a distraction,” says MHS health teacher Mr. Charvat.

Teens can’t function well without sleep. Some become drowsy and don’t perform to their best ability in tests, driving or everyday situations. Sleep is food for the brain. It follows that if we don’t feed our brain, it will not work as well as we want it to. Illness, impatience and lack of ability to learn are just a handful of consequences that come from the loss of sleep. Ultimately, it can be dangerous to you and the people around you.

Most importantly, driving while rested can’t be overlooked. The act of driving is independent and free, but when a person who isn’t well rested gets behind the wheel, it could be harmful to all involved. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “Driving while feeling drowsy is very dangerous and can cause around 100,000 accidents every year.” In order to drive safely, a person has to be alert in order to safely drive in an environment where children and families are around.

With everything going on in the life of a teenager, there aren’t many things more important than the right amount of sleep. Make time – it’s that important.