Students Sleeping Habits Research Paper

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Technology Alters Students Sleep Patterns “The phone beeps and they feel compelled to answer it,” said the mother of a 13-year-old in Seattle (Holson 2). “It’s not like reading a book. The book wasn’t pinging you every moment saying ‘Read me! Read me!’ You can close the book,” (Holson 2). Sleep is an essential part of human life. But is modern technology preventing us from getting the good nights rest we need? During a normal night 's sleep, the body cycles through five stages of sleep, with the last stage, Rapid Eye Movement (REM), making up about 20% of total sleep time (Alic 2). While asleep, our body produces more protein and repairs our cells for proper function (Alic 2). Teenagers need about nine hours of sleep a night for “brain development, …show more content…
For example, Michelle Slatalla’s two daughters began to stay up later in their early teens (Slatalla 1). Now, as college students, they are accustomed to being wide-awake late at night, even waking up their parents with the sound of the TV (Slatalla 1). The daughters were so used to taking time out of their busy schedule to relax at night that they continued this habit into their college years. Night time technology use will carry into adulthood. Equally important, some teenagers who are sleep deprived find that their hectic schedules are what’s causing them to miss out on the hours of sleep they need. “Kids my age are very occupied. We have school all day, and we see our friends. We get home and we have to do our homework. Then we eat dinner and go to bed.” said high school sophomore Owen Lanahan (Holson 1). Kids have busy schedules and have to juggle between school, homework, sports, or even a job. Many then turn to their phones as a stress reliever and binge-watch shows or simply surf the Internet. Not only are students turning to their phones for relaxation, but also because technology allows them to do whatever they want. To illustrate, Van den Bulk, a professor from the University of Leuven, has described Internet exposure as “an unstructured and boundless leisure activity with no clear endpoints,” (Shocat 5). Technology is …show more content…
But what is in computers that is causing this epidemic? According to reporter Sarah Sparks, “Human brains regulate circadian sleep through exposure to short-wavelength ‘blue’ light, which makes up the bulk of bright daylight,” (Sparks 1). The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines circadian as occurring in 24-hour cycles. As Sparks illustrates, circadian sleep is triggered by environmental factors such as the amount of light and darkness we are exposed to throughout the day. Consequently, the blue light from screens acts as daylight, tricking our brains into thinking it is daytime, preventing us from falling asleep or becoming tired. In a study conducted by Dr. Charles Czeisler, a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, it was found that brief exposure to blue light later in the day caused up to a two-hour delay in sleep time in college students and a delayed release in melatonin, which is a sleep promoting chemical (Sparks 1). Because blue light increases brain activity, exposure to it makes our body take longer to fall asleep. But light exposure is becoming harder and harder to escape. “Blue light is becoming ubiquitous in any device that uses LEDs - including tablet and laptop computers, energy-efficient lamps, and some televisions,” (Sparks 2) The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ubiquitous as being everywhere at the same time. Because of the rising popularity of

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