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Students shift slumber from bed to class

It does not take long before one student will notice another resting their head on a desk, buried in sweatshirts or leaning on each other in an effort to remain conscious. Their yawns are contagious as they gaze bleary-eyed at their surroundings. The reason: a worldwide epidemic known as sleep deprivation.

“Sometimes I stay up late doing homework and don’t get to sleep at a decent time,” Daniel Hopper, ’10, said. “This makes me really tired and then I get annoyed with my family more often and it’s hard to pay attention in class.”

Dr. Daniel Lewin, PhD, of the Sleep Foundation, advises that the necessary amount of sleep for teens exceeds that of adults and if students do not receive eight hours, it can be difficult to wake up in the morning. To prevent this grogginess or grouchiness, students should try to sleep for at least eight hours, if not more.

This time allows them to rest their brains and bodies, to prepare for the next day. If teenagers do not get the required amount of rest, their schoolwork and relationships suffer.

?As a result of staying up late, I often fall asleep in my classes,? Brian Weskamp, ?09, said. ?Even though I don?t pay very much attention in class, I think it?s worth it because I enjoy staying up late.?

Experts recommend avoiding caffeine, exercising and keeping a regular sleep schedule to reduce sleeplessness.

While some students may suffer only from insomnia, other disorders can prey on sleep time as well.

Sleep apnea affects children and adults alike. The disorder often causes patients to wake and gasp for breath during the night, due to a lack of oxygen. This causes constant reprocessing of thoughts and the inability to manage stress.

?When I don?t get enough sleep, it affects my ability to perform academically,? Alexandrah Aleman, ?10, said, ?because I have mild sleep apnea, which makes it difficult to fall asleep, I have learned to empty my mind before falling asleep and use a journal to get rid of my stress.?

Lack of sleep begins with tossing and turning at night, which may result in grogginess in the morning.

?Sometimes I don?t go to bed on time and then it can be hard to fall asleep,? Cindy Powell, ?08, said. ?There?s a lot on my mind, so I tend to think about stress a lot and lose sleep. In the morning, I’m really exhausted; I really should get more sleep.?

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