Healthy Sleep for a Healthy Soul


Photo courtesy of Esports Healthcare.

Alana Woods, Contributor

Here at Middletown High School North, the first block begins at 7:25 A.M.  This is quite early for a teenager trying to balance sleep with other interests and activities.  Because of the early start, students must make sure they allow themselves to get a good night of sleep.  Without sleep, the human body can not function appropriately.

Foremost, it is crucial to understand what occurs during sleep. Sleep is sectioned into 4 stages.  Stage 1, NREM, consists of about 5-10 minutes where the body transitions from being awake to sleeping. Stage 2, NREM, is where body temperature drops and the heart rate begins to slow down.  This stage usually lasts about 20 minutes. The following is stage 3, NREM, where muscles relax and the body’s breathing rate slows. This stage is where deep sleep occurs. The last stage is called REM sleep.  It is where the brain becomes more active and dreams begin.  Each stage performs a significant function to maintain the brain’s performance throughout the day. The cycle repeats itself throughout the amount of time the body is asleep. 

Why do we need sleep? Sleep is essential for the human body and without it the brain cannot properly function. Sleep allows the body and mind to rejuvenate.  Without a good night’s sleep, it’s difficult to concentrate, think and process. According to the Sleep Foundation, a media company, the amount of sleep required for a person depends on their age. As a teenager, between the ages of 14 and 17, it is recommended to get 8-10 hours of sleep. When the body does not gain those required hours for an extended period, it is known as sleep deprivation. A person who suffers from sleep deprivation does not get enough sleep needed to function properly throughout the day. Studies have displayed that sleep deprivation impairs the body’s ability to operate. Some effects of this include the following: delayed reaction time, mood shifts, reduced cognition, short-term memory and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.  Serious long-term effects from sleep deprivation are linked to certain diseases and medical conditions. Some examples are type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and even early death.  

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent these damaging effects! Some positive sleep habits include establishing an early bedtime, staying away from distracting electronic devices, keeping a comfortable room temperature, refraining from drinking caffeine leading up to bedtime, and lastly, exercising during the day. A night of healthy sleep leads to a healthy soul!