Students skimp on sleep

Effects of sleep deprivation


Junior Keren Idelman rests on the bus to school. Sleep deprivation plagues many SHS students. The effects may be more drastic than you think. Photo courtesy of Emily Chien.

Annie Marsh, Copy Editor

It is that time of year again. Days have become dark and cold, and school has revved up after first semester.

Juggling adequate rest with schoolwork, extracurriculars, and social activities can sometimes seem impossible, but here are some signs that you need to step up your sleep time along with some ways to make it happen.

If you feel as though your emotions are erratic and your temper is easily sparked, the problem might be a lack of ZZZ’s.

According to, “The main thing is you are less inhibited…You become over-reactive to emotional stimuli,” said Dr. Kelly Baron, assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University in Chicago.

Additionally, excessive eating and/or weight gain is associated with lack of sleep. states, “If the brain is not getting the energy it needs from sleep, it will often try to get it from food,” said Chris Winter owner of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine in Virginia.
Also, if you are tired you could be more prone to thoughtless snacking or giving into cravings, as your brain is less alert.

Essential functions, both cognitive and physical, can also be an issue with lack of sleep, and memory loss is a common side effect.
Tasks such as problem solving or time management become even more difficult to carry out, and lowered reaction times and concentration also create more difficulty with movement.

“When I sleep late due to studying, it can be counterproductive because I am not as alert as I can be, resulting in lower test grades,” said Kiri Wang, 11.
At this point, you have probably realized that you are seriously sleep deprived, so here are some tips to make your rest more restful.

First, technology use inhibits the ability to fall asleep, as the light stimulates your brain. Reading a book or listening to music is an alternative that will slow down your thoughts and prepare your body for sleep.

Avoiding sugar and caffeine after five o’clock can reduce the risk of increased energy levels at bedtime.

Also, aromatherapy and a comfortable atmosphere can make it easier to get quality rest. Soothing scents such as lavender and the feeling of a freshly made bed will lull you to sleep in no time at all.

Luckily, the adverse health effects associated with lack of sleep dissipate after you receive adequate rest (totaling more than 7 hours, ideally), so you can still experience increased energy levels and quicker thinking with a good night’s rest.