The Importance of Getting 8 Hours of Sleep

Do you quickly run out of energy while starting the day off? Or wake up in a horrible mood and seem to lack energy? The reason for that could be the amount of sleep you’re getting. Researchers have been recommending time and time again that teens and adults should be getting at least 8 hours of sleep. A couple of students have shown that they are sleepy and fail to pay attention while in class, they sometimes even fall asleep because they can’t resist the heaviness on their eyelids. Attendance and grades are affected by the effects of insufficient amount of sleep. Not getting the recommended amount of sleep is horrible for your physical, mental, and emotional health.

“I get around nine hours of sleep each night, depending on the time I wake up. I may be energized but I rarely struggle to fully wake up. Occasionally school work might keep me up at night which is a struggle sometimes.” senior Alex Troxel said.

Researchers have found that the immune system is heavily impacted by sleep. People who don’t sleep at least 8 hours are more likely to get sick and have a long recovery time compared to people who receive a sufficient amount of sleep. The immune system suffers damage and will struggle to fight and recover from viruses.  Believe it or not but the less you sleep each night, the risk of developing diabetes increases. Diseases like coronary heart disease (where the heart’s blood vessels get damaged causing blood flow to be limited) start to rise after periods of getting insufficient amounts of sleep. Obesity is linked with sleep deprivation, the brain is also affected due to struggle of growth and causes the body to have weight changes. 

“I get around 8 hours of sleep each night, I get home late from games or practice some days and have to start on homework which sometimes lasts a bit longer than expected.” said freshman Briana Gudiel. 

After resting, the body is full of energy and muscles are ready for the day, the brain is ready to perform tasks and have a higher focus. The immune system will act proficiently by avoiding sickness and injuries, another benefit is the ability to recover quickly from both sickness and injuries. For those who drive, sleep is very important because your eyes are one of the most important factors while driving, especially during night. With little sleep you have a high chance of getting killed or being badly injured in a car accident.  

“Sleep plays a huge role in mental health because people with mental health challenges typically have a harder time sleeping compared to other people, not getting enough sleep can both increase and result in mental health challenges.” said Annandale’s Psychologist Laurie Ottehenning.“The brain activity fluctuates while sleeping which both increases and decreases during different sleep stages. Each stage of sleep plays a role in your brain health, which can enable better thinking, learning and memory. You might have a harder time focusing, learning and remembering information if you aren’t getting enough sleep and going through the different sleep stages. Getting enough sleep (especially REM sleep) is important for the brain’s ability to process emotional information, while at that stage the brain consolidates thoughts and memories.” said Ottehenning. 

The great part is sleeping the recommended amount of time brings its benefits. Focus, sleeping can affect your ability to focus on tasks or any activity that is being performed, with 8 hours of sleep you are more likely to focus in class or in any other activity and perform much better. Good amounts of sleep can set up a positive mood, limit negative thoughts, reduce stress and help build up a positive mindset to start the day off right. The risk of both heart disease and heart attack decreases because blood pressure is low and consistent rather than being high like those who don’t get enough sleep. 

“A lot of students I see talk about having trouble sleeping which is a common symptom of depression (both sleeping too much or not getting enough sleep) and a common symptom of anxiety because thoughts are racing which makes it hard to fall asleep. It’s very important for everyone to practice good sleep hygiene, this means having a solid bedtime routine, consistently following the bedtime routine, exercising before sleeping and avoiding caffeine during the evening.” said Ottehenning.

Overall, sleep has a big impact on students, their work ethic, mood, energy levels, and more. Try to get 8 or more hours of sleep each night to recharge your brain and feel refreshed in the morning. Lack of sleep may even affect your appearance. As a student, time management is key, be sure to set aside time for yourself to rest and stay healthy.