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Effects Of Sleep Deprivation On Teens And Young Adults

1384 words - 6 pages

It had been a long week at school. I arrive on Friday morning feeling awful. Thankfully, there were only seven more dreadful hours until I was done. The second the 8th period bell rang, I quickly grabbed my belongings from my locker and got into the comfort of my car. I was driving with the heat on medium, the music on low volume, and both hands on the steering wheel. The next thing I know, I felt a heavy thump as my car had drifted into the rear driver-side door of a Toyota Sienna in the lane to my left. I had dozed off. It was only when I saw the two young children in the back of the minivan that I realized this situation could have been a whole lot worse. Not to mention that this was my fourth car accident since getting my license, and it wouldn't be my last one either. According to a 1998 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsiness causes about 100,000 car crashes each year resulting in 1,500 deaths, 50% of which are kids ages of 15 to 24… [in addition,] teens require about nine-and-a-half hours of sleep a night” (Mara, 1998). Sleep deprivation, although increasingly prevalent amongst teens and young adults, is detrimental to their life in an array of aspects ranging from driving abilities to psychological health.
In today’s busy society, high school students are catching less sleep than ever before. Many teens are involved in extracurricular activities such as athletics, theater, clubs, jobs, and maintaining an overactive social life. All of these tasks, in addition to homework and family time, often result in late nights. Consistently going to bed too late is the direct cause of sleep deprivation, and depriving a person’s brain of sleep can bring on some austere side effects. If fact, the part of a brain that governs memory encoding, called the hippocampus, lacks in it’s ability to use it’s “verbal learning or visual memory” capabilities while deprived of sleep. Scientists have also revealed that a “20%-30% reduction in [consolidation of] memory” is apparent in a tired brain (Gruber, 2013). As one drives, it is crucial that he or she is able to see and remember everything in their surroundings, not only for their own safety, but for the safety of the other drivers on the road as well. These side effects are what causes driving to become unsafe for people who don’t sleep enough. Additionally, sleep deprivation in teens and young adults may cause a negative response to certain vaccinations, a resistance to insulin, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and cardiovascular morbidity (Gruber, 2013). Taking all of these factors into account, it is absolutely essential to stress the importance to kids very early on in their life that getting a good night’s sleep is a must to keep them sharp, healthy, safe, and out of harm’s way. What better way than to address the causes of sleep deprivation and take measures to avoid encountering them in the first place?
That wonderful feeling of falling asleep the moment one’s head...

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