Studies show that the average adolescent needs around nine hours of sleep per night (http://www.stanford.edu/~dement/adolescent.html). If they get less than that they begin to develop what scientists call “sleep debt” which impacts the body and mind until the “debt” is made up.
Here is some information quoted directly from the Internet about sleep and its importance:
A good deep sleep allows our body to release a significant amount of growth hormone which boosts the immune system and aids in the growth and repair of the body. (http://coldflu.about.com/od/preventionofacold/a/Sleep.htm)
Many studies have shown that sleep deprivation adversely affects performance and alertness. Reducing sleep by as little as one and a half hours for just one night reduces daytime alertness by about one-third. (http://my.webmd.com/content/article/62/71838.htm)
Sleep deprivation can impair memory and inhibit creativity making it difficult for sleep deprived students to learn. Irritability, lack of self-confidence, and mood swings are often common in a teen, but sleep deprivation makes it worse. Not enough sleep can endanger their immune system and make them more susceptible to serious illnesses. (http://www.stanford.edu/~dement/adolescent.html)
I want to connect this topic with our theme DISconnect by giving a direct quote from one of our students. In the Media Literacy class the students are given an assignment where they must participate in a 48-hour media blackout. After completing it, they reflect on the experience. Here is a student’s comment about the media blackout,
“The hardest media form to give up was instant messaging and Facebook. These two things are something that I constantly am on and checking even if there are no new notifications. Not doing Facebook and instant messaging was as hard as trying to study on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. . . a lot of my entertainment, time, and happiness. . . depend on the media; my level of dependence on the media seemed to be higher than expected. What was really nice about abstaining from media was that I ended up with a lot of spare time left. After doing homework and other studies, it was only 8 or 9 at night; I usually finished my homework at 11. The media blackout allowed me to get much more sleep.”