Sleep is one of the most important things in life. It is our bodies’ way of restarting itself after a long day of commitment and obligation. Do you know how tired you are when you finally get a chance to crawl into bed? To you at that moment, sleep is a godsend. You need that rest as much as you need to breathe or eat. But how much of it do you need? The average teenager needs about nine hours of sleep every night. Do you get that much rest? You probably don’t. But don’t feel bad, as many teenagers regularly do not get enough sleep. This is alarming, however, when you consider how important sleep is to daily functioning. Lack of sleep leads to a myriad of problems, including irritation, fatigue, depression, and an inability to concentrate. So writing this today, I can’t help but wonder why this is so common. Studies show that as many as sixty to seventy percent of teenagers do not get enough sleep every night. That is huge. So to better understand why this is, let’s look at some of the most common causes. What has to be the biggest cause of sleep deprivation for any student has to be the early time that school starts. Here at WPHS, we start at the admittedly early time of 7:45. If you live in Woodland Park, then that’s not too hard for you. You can probably get away with getting up at 7:00, thus ensuring that you get plenty of sleep. But if you live outside of Woodland Park, the situation is drastically different. To catch the bus in the morning, many students have to get up as early as 5:30. For those unlucky enough to live in Lake George, that can mean before 5:00. School should start later, but I don’t think anyone can handle another schedule change at the moment. Next, let’s look at another one of the biggest factors towards our sleep-deprived states: social media. Social media is like a vacuum: It sucks up all of your time. It is very common for teenagers to use social media before bed, and the screen from the device that they are using affects the brain which tells it that it is earlier in the day than it is. It takes you much longer to fall asleep because of this, not considering how late you stayed up on the device in the first place. This brings us to the final question: What can we do to get more sleep? Some problems cannot be fixed, like early start times for schools, but some can, like the abuse of social media before bed. Try putting your phone in another room before dozing off, and make sure that you have not been on it for half an hour before bed. Also, try these tips for getting more rest: Firstly, go to bed earlier. I know that this should be a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed by the number of people who don’t get enough sleep because they go to bed too late. Secondly, try to cut back on all that Red Bull. Red Bull and other energy drinks like tend to keep you awake much longer than you’d be otherwise. (I learned this the hard way when a Monster trip kept me up until 1:30.) I hope that those tips helped, and I hope that y’all sleep well tonight.