Sleep Deprived Americans

Sleep Deprived Americans

On any given school day, teenagers across the nation stumble out of bed and prepare for the day. For most, the alarm clock buzzes by 6:30 a.m., a scant seven hours after they went to bed. Many students board the school bus before 7 a.m. and are in class by 7:30. In adults, such meager sleep allowances are known to affect day-to-day functioning in myriad ways. In adolescents, who are biologically driven to sleep longer and later than adults do, the effects of insufficient sleep are likely to be even more dramatic, so much so that some sleep experts contend that the nation’s early high-school start times, increasingly common, are tantamount to abuse. “Almost all teen-agers, as they reach puberty, become walking zombies because they are getting far too little sleep,” comments Cornell University psychologist James B. Maas, PhD, one of the nation’s leading sleep experts. Insufficient sleep has also been shown to cause difficulties in school, including disciplinary problems, sleepiness in class and poor concentration. The causes of sleep deprivation include lifestyles, medical and medication side effects, and clinical disorders, which all lead up to affecting someone’s health. Sleep deprivation is often due to lifestyle choices. Modern society sees sleep as an inconvenience: it eats into time when we could otherwise be working or playing. Shift work often involves long nighttime work hours, when our bodies’ internal clocks assume that we should be resting. By nature, humans are essentially diurnal: we are active during the day and rest at night. Shift work reverses this natural order, and our bodies never completely adapt to the change. Twenty percent of American jobs require shift work and many shift workers average less than five hours of sleep a day. Jet lag is also a factor is sleep deprivation. Many people are required to travel for their jobs and have the tendency to feel sleepy during the day and restless at night. In the lifestyl…


Comments are closed.