By Celine Bazzi
Unis Middle School
Blink. Your eyes feel heavy, heaving up and down slowly. B-l-ink. Your hands are pressed tightly against your cheeks. B-l-i-nk. You tell yourself, “don’t, don’t do it,” but you know you can’t help it. B-l-i-n-k. You remind yourself over and over again until you … just … collapse!“… You have to wonder if they’re not getting enough, that they’re at their optimum in performance,” says Pamela Anderson, an eighth grade Language Arts teacher at Unis Middle School. A student’s sleep is very important for brain development. Sleep is “food” for the brain. Most kids these days don’t care to get the sleep they need. Usually, there are excuses. Sometimes there’s a good movie on that they’re anxious to finish, or they have a lot of homework that’s imperative, and that prevents kids from getting the required 9-14 hours of sleep they need. Ali Hadous, an eighth grade student at Unis Middle School says, “I go to bed at 12 every day because I feel if I go to bed earlier, I can’t fall asleep.” However, there are some teenage kids that do go to bed early. “I go to bed early because I want to be alert and focused during the day,” says eighth grade student Jasmine Aljalham. “When I sleep later, I feel the day goes by really slow.”
Students’ sleep also affects the way they participate in class. “They sometimes sleep in class. They’re so tired that they put their head down,” Anderson says. Most kids fall asleep in class because they’re not getting enough sleep the night before. It is usually in the first and second hour of the day because it’s just the beginning of the day. “They don’t respond. They just sit there. When I see them later in the day, they’re a totally different personality, because then, they’re awake,” she explains.Furthermore, caffeine affects the way a child sleeps. Coffee, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Dr Pepper, and, believe it or not, chocolate! All these products have caffeine in them.
Caffeine is one many reasons kids can’t sleep earlier. “I don’t have any caffeine before bedtime because it keeps me up and I can’t go to sleep,” explains Jasmine truthfully.
Ali says, “I like drinking Tim Horton’s coffee before I go to bed, but I think that’s the reason I stay up late.” Anderson says, “It’s a stimulant. It’s not good to have a stimulant.”
After a short survey of my own journalism class, most of the kids don’t go to sleep at a respectable time. The majority of the kids slept after 10 p.m. on a school night. To find out if you’re getting enough sleep you need, take this short quiz. If you answer TRUE to most of these questions, that’s a sign that you need to change your sleeping habits.