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Finishing up all of their homework but also enjoying time with friends is priceless; sleep can always wait until tomorrow.

Teens and sleep — two things that rarely mix. Being a teenager in today's world, you're faced with impossible choices. Going to bed early, or finishing homework. Hanging out with friends, or getting some much needed hours of rest. What's more important?

The answer varies, depending on who you ask. If a responsible teenager were to answer, they probably would say homework and sleep. I, however, would say homework and friends, risking my precious hours of sleep.

I think many teenagers would risk their sleep to enjoy their adolescent years. Finishing up all of their homework but also enjoying time with friends is priceless; sleep can always wait until tomorrow. That can be such an unhealthy mind-set to have though, since running yourself down takes a toll on every aspect of your life.

Being deprived of essential rest impacts everything you do — for both teens and adults. We all suffer from the effects of an unhealthy sleep schedule, no matter the age.

Teens suffer especially though, since the effects of sleep deprivation are amplified in the young. According to the National Sleep Foundation, not getting the recommended 81½ hours of sleep can "lead to aggressive or inappropriate behavior such as yelling at your friends or being impatient with your teachers or family members."

The foundation also says lack of sleep can "limit your ability to learn, listen, concentrate and solve problems. You may even forget important information like names, numbers, your homework or a date with a special person in your life."

All of these sound like they would add hardship to one's life. Now imagine going through all of that while having school, activities, and sometimes work every weekday. The anxiety teens feel about homework, grades, college prep, friends, family and everything else is exacerbated by a lack of sleep.

There isn't a whole lot that teens can do to change their sleep schedules besides cutting out some major things. By limiting screen time, teens miss out on a large part of their social lives — not using Instagram or Twitter can be a genuine struggle for a lot of us who communicate through these apps.

Many of us also use these social media platforms to relax and de-stress after a long day. Watching YouTube or Netflix is an outlet for many teens after their school day.

Another option highly suggested to teens is to simply stop going out with friends or stop texting friends. That's another thing that just isn't plausible for many students — the loss of interaction often isn't worth gaining a few hours of sleep.

Teenagers shouldn't have to choose between having a social life, earning good grades, or getting enough sleep. I think we could agree to do more work during the school day if teachers were to lessen the burden of teams. Maximizing our school time could allow for more time with friends, and also more time for sleep.

Obviously, there's no easy solution to get more sleep that will make both parents, teachers and teens happy. The fact remains, though — teenagers will always be tired.

Alyson Johnston is a junior at Wilsonville High School.


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