By Lekha Medarametla
Sleeping in is without a doubt the favorite weekend pastime for teenagers all over the world. Binge-watching your favorite Netflix show until 4 in the morning Friday night and proceeding to curl up under your blanket until 2 p.m. I know the feeling- heck, I personify that feeling. It’s a rare sight to see me out of bed before noon on a Saturday. But maybe it’s time to start rethinking our habits of catching up on sleep on the weekends, because it’s not as good for you as you think.
A total of 80% of teens sleep fewer than 9 hours every night. Chances are, you’re one of them. And it doesn’t help that we go to HB. You probably come in every morning and hear (or even say) phrases such as “sleep? What’s sleep!” – or “HA! I don’t sleep, I go to HB!” But as a result of not getting the recommended 8 hours a night, we’re usually zombies in school with a need for two things: sleep and coffee.
But sadly, sleeping in is not the perfect solution that it presents itself to be. As much as your parents tell you to just sleep instead of pushing yourself into the early mornings of the next day, too much sleep is also just as bad for you, especially on the weekends. Medically, too much sleep can increase a risk for diabetes, cause morning headaches, back pains, increase risk for obesity, and even risk coronary heart disease and stroke in extreme cases. On a softer note, staying up too long too often then catching up on sleep causes deficits in attention and reaction time, as shown by a 2010 study done by US and British researchers. This can result in lower test scores and academic performance in students like us, especially with the stress and increased workload we experience.
Now I‘m not telling you to stop sleeping in on the weekends- it’s a sacred ritual that even I have absolutely no intention of ending. But, I do recommend sleeping a little bit more during the week (surprise, surprise). Instead of sticking it out through 1 in the morning, eat a light snack and start doing your homework immediately when you get home. Take 10-minute breaks every hour to an hour and a half and maybe even squeeze in an episode of your favorite show halfway through your homework session. I promise you will feel more accomplished and less guilty when you’re watching TV if all of your homework is finished by then. Try to aim for a “bedtime” of 11 (even I never sleep until then), and you will feel more energized in the morning. It’s the little things that count- take it slow and change one thing at a time, and before you know it, you will be able to take on anything that comes your way. Good Luck!