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Logan Manes

English Composition 2

Prof. Leonard

3/29/20

Research Paper

Throughout high school, I have found myself staying up longer and longer to study for

that big test the next day. Sometimes I would have to work eight hours at my job, get off around

midnight, and then study till about 2:00 am when I got home. I always thought I was going to ace

the test. But I woke up the next day not wanting to go to school at all. I felt like I was not

motivated, was just groggy and sad. I went to school and it felt like the worse day ever. I

couldn’t focus or keep my emotions in check with each other. I kept finding myself wondering

why this was the case. So, I did some research on what impact sleep, either too much or too little

has on our mood, mind, and body. I could tell that was the one common denominator in my

mood changes and fatigue. One important fact that I learned was that most people, like me,

don’t even know what getting too little sleep or having the perfect amount of sleep can do to

your body and your mind. What is the right about of sleep a person needs to get each night?

How does lack of sleep or poor sleep affect a human’s mental and physical health?

According to the website Help Guide, a teenager or young adult needs to get

approximately seven to nine hours of sleep each night to function properly and to maintain good

mental, emotional, and physical health. By contrast, children and teenagers require about 10+

hours. While you sleep your body at rest, but your brain is awake and functioning. Your brain

tells your body to start to repair itself and it builds up energy for the upcoming day so that you
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can be active and mentally alert. Getting too little to sleep can make you sleep deprived.

According to Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-

webster.com/dictionary/sleep-deprived. “sleep-deprived” means not getting enough sleep. Most

people don’t know, but some of the signs of being sleep deprived are feeling sluggish typically in

the afternoon where you don’t feel high energy and your body feels heavy and your mind feels

foggy, in the morning you rely on the snooze button several times and don’t immediately bolt out

of bed, you get sleepy in meetings, fall asleep in class lectures with warm rooms or needs a nap

to get through the day, and being uncharacteristically moody and easily agitated. These are all

signs of being sleep deprived.

Our mind and mental capabilities are also closely linked to the amount of sleep we get.

Lack of sleep also often leads to depression and anxiety. Depression has been around for

centuries. It is a state of being when you feel sad, lonely, and all down from time to time for no

apparent reason and you begin to feel like it’s a normal part of life. Signs of depression are

feeling alone, loss of interest in activities, sleep changes, loss of energy, suicidal thoughts, acting

sad, and becoming happy suddenly. Anxiety has been around for centuries too. Anxiety is when

you feel worried and nervous about something without cause or reason and often the reality does

not justify the need for the anxiousness. According to the website Help Guide, signs of anxiety

include constant watching for signs of danger, anticipating the worst, trouble concentrating,

feeling tense and jumpy, and finally, feeling like your mind is numb and has gone blank. Lack of

sleep also causes insomnia, which is characterized by being tired and sleepy, but when you lay

down to sleep, you can't sleep at all and are wide awake with lots of thoughts running through

your head. People with insomnia often wake up during the night and lie there awake for hours on

end. Additional signs are trouble getting back to sleep when awakened, unrefreshing sleep,
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waking up too early in the morning, and finally relying on sleeping pills or alcohol to help you

fall asleep.

These findings are also backed up by Dr. Rebekah Jackel and Dr. Antonino Culebras at

Medlink Neurology who said, “… reciprocally changes in mood, anxiety, and cognition can

result from sleep disturbances.” Both are never a good day in my book and can affect my health

and wellbeing and as an athlete, I want to be in the best physical and mental shape possible. In

an article written by Joe Auer, an expert in sleep studies, he cites that “The National Sleep

Foundation notes that sleep and mood have been connected repeatedly in both research and

anecdotal evidence from physicians and other health care professionals. In fact, individuals who

suffer from insomnia experience depression at a rate 10 times that of those who don't, and they're

diagnosed with clinical anxiety at a rate 17 times that of those who don't report sleep issues.” I

find that an alarming fact. Also, in a separate article written by doctors at the National Sleep

Foundation, their researchers concluded, “When you don't get the 7-9 hours of quality sleep you

need, it can heavily influence your outlook on life, your energy level, motivation, and emotions.

If you're feeling low, you may not realize that lack of sleep is the culprit. But even small levels

of sleep deprivation over time can chip away at your happiness. You might see that you're less

enthusiastic, more irritable, or even have some of the symptoms of clinical depression, such as

feeling persistently sad or empty. All these alterations to your mood can affect not only your

individual mental health but your relationships and family dynamics as well.” I find the next day

after one those nights when I stay up late and get up early that I find everyone around me

annoying and my mom only has to say one thing and I snap back at her. I don’t push myself as

hard in my workouts or my schoolwork. I even find my buddies annoying and often want to just

be alone. I never realized that my lack of sleep was causing that. In an article written by health
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professionals at Harvard, they have found that sleep issues affect brain waves and stress

hormones and can keep an individual from being focused, thinking clearly, and being able to

control emotional reactions to situations. Again, lack of sleep effects and impairs your thinking

and often leads to mental and emotional disorders such as depression. Finally, a study from

Georgetown College researchers said, “…depression and suicidal thoughts were just as common

in teens with poor sleep habits as those who engaged in risky behaviors.” It is just another

example of how not getting enough sleep is a scary proposition. Especially if it leads to

depression and suicidal thoughts within our youth. Another article written by health officials

from the Cleveland Clinic states, “Shorting yourself on shut-eye has a negative impact on your

health in many ways: (1) Lack of alertness: Even missing as little as 1.5 hours can have an

impact, research shows. (2) Impaired memory: Lack of sleep can affect your ability to think and

to remember and process information. (3) Relationship stress: It can make you feel moody, and

you can become more likely to have conflicts with others. (4) Quality of life: You may become

less likely to participate in normal daily activities or to exercise and (5) Greater likelihood for car

accidents: Drowsy driving accounts for thousands of crashes, injuries, and fatalities each year,

according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.”

Chronic lack of sleep also can create more long-term and serious health problems. Some

of which could cause death, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure,

or stroke. The Cleveland Clinic doctors also found that other potential problems caused by sleep

issues can be obesity, depression, and lower sex drive. Chronic sleep deprivation can even affect

our outward appearance and create changes in our skin and complexion by causing premature

wrinkling and dark circles under the eyes. Also, research links a lack of sleep to an increase in

the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Cortisol can break down collagen, the protein that keeps
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skin smooth. Yet again this is another reason why we should get the proper amount of sleep since

it can be a virtual fountain of youth, especially in our beauty-obsessed culture.

Getting enough sleep isn’t the only thing has benefits that can help in many areas of our

lives, but the quality of sleep we get is also important. According to United States Health

Department experts, “It’s also important to get good quality sleep on a regular schedule so you

feel rested when you wake up. Getting enough sleep has many benefits such as getting sick less

often, you stay at a healthy weight, you lower your risk for serious health problems, like diabetes

and heart disease, it reduces stress and improves your mood, you think more clearly and do better

in school and at work, you get along better with people and finally make good decisions and

avoid injuries.” We can improve the quality sleep we get by going to bed and waking up at a

regular time and on a schedule, that way our bodies know when to expect it’s time to sleep and

time to get up. My mom always encourages me to create a good sleeping environment with a

good mattress and pillow, a cooler room temperature, and room darkening curtains, all of which

will help increase the quality of sleep.

Getting the right amount of sleep is essential since it gives all these benefits, it goes

without saying and that it will help improve your everyday quality of life. Another example of

how sleep benefits us is that it can maximize and improve athletic performance. According to an

article, by dietician Joe Leech, “Sleep has been shown to enhance athletic performance. In a

study on basketball players, longer sleep was shown to significantly improve speed, accuracy,

reaction times, and mental well-being.” Just another one of the many benefits it gives humans

and young people especially. I am a football player this is helpful information for me to know.

Also, Leech said, “On the other hand, good sleep has been shown to improve problem-solving

skills and enhance memory performance of both children and adults.”  This is yet another benefit
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that parents can give to help their children succeed in school. One of the things we do in our lives

every day at work or in the classroom is problem-solving. If our brain is tired, we cannot solve

the problems we need. In the same article, Leech wrote about how sleep impairs immune

function. This means that sleep helps your body heal faster because when you sleep and sleep

efficient repair is what your body is doing during these sleep times. In a recent study of people

with colds. Those studied who slept less than 7 hours a night were almost 3 times more likely to

develop a cold than those who slept 8 hours or more.” Getting the right amount of sleep helps

your body repair and helps your immune system fight off sickness. That is especially important

in the world we now live in. Also, Dr. Mark Stibich said, “When your body is sleep deficient, it

goes into a state of stress. The body's functions are put on high alert, which causes high blood

pressure and the production of stress hormones. High blood pressure increases your risk for heart

attack and stroke, and the stress hormones make it harder to fall asleep.” If you get a good night's

sleep, you won't stress as much because sleep will keep those stress hormone levels lowered.

Stressing too much increases your risk for heart attacks. This is another prime example of why

you should get enough sleep. Also, Stibich talked about how sleep makes you more alert. He

said “A good night's sleep makes you feel energized and alert the next day. Being engaged and

active not only feels great but increases your chances for another good night's sleep. When you

wake up feeling refreshed, use that energy to get out into the daylight, do active things, and be

engaged with your world. You'll sleep better the next night and increase your daily energy level.”

If you go to sleep and get the right amount of sleep, you can feel engaged with the world, and it

makes you feel great. Also, if you can't sleep as well, sleep in and of itself will help because it

increases your daily energy level making you more tired at night. Finally, Stibich mentioned that

sleep may help you lose weight. He said, “People who sleep fewer hours per night are more
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likely to be overweight or obese. It is thought that a lack of sleep impacts the balance of

hormones in the body that affect appetite. The hormones ghrelin and leptin, which regulate

appetite, have been found to be disrupted by lack of sleep. If you want to maintain or lose

weight, don't forget that getting adequate sleep on a regular basis is a huge part of the equation.”

Just another benefit of a good night’s sleep. Sleep also impacts the chemicals in our bodies,

including serotonin which if off balance can lead to depression. With so many depressed young

people in the world today, if just making a small change in your life to get the right amount of

sleep can make a positive impact and lower depression, it makes sense to me that we need to

educate all of our teenagers on how important good and proper amounts of sleep can help. I

think we could include an entire campaign each year to educating teens in schools about the

impacts and benefits of getting 7 to 9 hours of good sleep each night. This is just another good

factor to keep depression out of our lives and to live happier just by sleeping enough. An article

written by WebMD said, “When you're running low on sleep, you'll probably have trouble

holding onto and recalling details. That's because sleep plays a big part in both learning and

memory. Without enough sleep, it's tough to focus and take in new information. Your brain also

doesn't have enough time to properly store memories so you can pull them up later. Sleep lets

your brain catch up so you're ready for what's next.” This is a key benefit because it helps with

memories and to store them which when you get older you can help remember some of the key

times when you were a kid or a certain year like 2020, the year with a pandemic. WebMD also

talked about mood-boosting. When we sleep our very complicated and magical brain not only

repairs our bodies, but it also uses the time during sleep to help us our emotions. Our minds

need this time to recognize our emotions and learn how to react properly to them. If we don’t get

the right amount of sleep, we tend to have more negative emotional reactions and fewer positive
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ones and can even lead to mood disorders. It will increase the odds of developing depression and

even panic disorders. This seems like a good reason for me to get a good night’s 7 to 9 hours of

sleep!

But what happens if you sleep 12+ hours and oversleep? There are many risks associated with

oversleeping. According to an article written by Rosie Osuman, too much sleep can lead to

Alzheimer’s and even dementia. Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease that affects mainly the elderly.

This is a disease that most people would like to avoid if possible. Osuman also talked about

depression and anxiety. She writes, “Oversleeping is considered a potential symptom of

depression. While many people with depression report insomnia, about 15% tend to oversleep.

People with long sleep durations are also more likely to have persistent depression or anxiety

symptoms compared to normal sleepers. Also, adults that those who slept more than 10 hours

reported worse overall mental health over the past month compared to normal sleepers.” This is

never good if oversleeping leads to depression it can affect how people think and feel and

increase suicide rates. Just another big reason why we should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night

to lessen the chance that we might develop these issues. Osuman also stated how lack of sleep

can cause more pain in your life. Too much sleep can increase our pain symptoms, especially

back pain which can increase from too little activity or spending too much time in bed. This can

pain can also be aggravated more if we are sleeping in an uncomfortable chair or poorly

supportive or old mattress. We can wake up have worse back pain instead of better! According

to doctors and researchers at WebMD, there are a lot of risks to oversleeping including

increasing the risk of developing diabetes. A risk to get an avoidable disease that can change your

life forever gives me a big reason to get enough sleep. WebMD also stated that it can make you feel

groggy leading to headaches. “ For some people prone to headaches, sleeping longer than usual on
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a weekend or vacation can cause head pain. Researchers believe this is due to the effect

oversleeping has on certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin. People who sleep

too much during the day and disrupt their nighttime sleep may also find themselves suffering

from headaches in the morning.” Studies have shown that people who sleep nine or more hours a

night have significantly higher death rates than those who get the recommended seven to nine hours.

WebMD also finds that oversleeping can lead to heart problems and heart disease. “The Nurses'

Health Study involved nearly 72,000 women. A careful analysis of the data from that study

showed that women who slept nine to 11 hours per night were 38% more likely to have coronary

heart disease than women who slept eight hours. Researchers have not yet identified a reason for

the connection between oversleeping and heart disease.” Heart disease is nothing to joke about.

Finally, WebMD identifies that oversleeping can lead to obesity. Sleeping too much or too little

can also make your body weigh too much, as well. One recent study showed that people who

slept for nine or 10 hours every night were 21% more likely to become obese than were people

who slept between seven and eight hours even if the participants ate the same thing and exercised

the same amounts. According to an article written by Debra Rose, she suggests that too much

sleep can lead to anxiety, low energy problems, and memory problems. Rose also discusses how

oversleeping can increase driving risks and cause individuals to be at a higher risk of getting into

auto accidents. Finally, Rose stated, “Even if you don’t have a sleep disorder, regularly

oversleeping may have a negative impact on your health. Some complications may include

headaches, obesity, diabetes, back pain, depression, heart disease, and an increased risk of

death.” This is just one of the many risks of oversleeping and why individuals should get the

recommended amount of sleep.


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In conclusion, sleep has a big impact on all our lives. Not getting enough sleep

can cause an increased risk of developing many disorders like depression and anxiety. It also can

cause an effect on our personality and the way we treat others, such as behaving differently like

distancing yourself, not being social, be short-tempered and rude, and not wanting to talk to

anyone. However, getting the right amount of sleep at the recommended seven to nine hours per

night can be very beneficial for our overall health and wellbeing and offer many benefits like

being in a good mood, being cheerful, and improving your memory. Oversleep can also be a sign

of depression and could lead to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, or decreased athletic

performance. According to all the sources, it is best to aim to sleep between 7-9 hours a night

and the amount needed for each person will vary. Any more sleep than that can cause adverse

health risks, even death. After the research I have done for this assignment, as an athlete and

teenager, I realize now that my current sleep habits have been harmful to my wellbeing and I am

going to keep a better eye on exactly how much sleep I get a night from now on and am going to

work on improving my sleep!


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Works Cited

Jackel, Rebekah, and Antonio Culebras. “Sleep and Mental Disorders.” MedLink Neurology:

The Information Resource for Clinical Neurology, 9 Sept. 1993,

www.medlink.com/article/sleep_and_mental_disorders.

Auer, Joe. “How Mental Illness Affects Sleep.” How Mental Illness Affects Sleep, 10 Oct. 2019,

www.alaskasleep.com/blog/how-mental-illness-affects-sleep.

Foundation, Sleep. “The Complex Relationship Between Sleep, Depression & Anxiety.”

National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org/excessive-sleepiness/health-

impact/complex-relationship-between-sleep-depression-anxiety.

Harvard Health Publishing. “Sleep and Mental Health.” Harvard Health, Harvard Health

Publishing, 18 Mar. 2019, www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/sleep-and-mental-

health.

“The Impact of Sleep on Teen Mental Health.” Teen Mental Health Is Impacted by Sleep, 1 Dec.

2017, www.georgetownbehavioral.com/blog/impact-of-sleep.

Breus, Michael. “Yes, You CAN Sleep Too Much-Here's Why Oversleeping Is A Problem.”

Your Guide to Better Sleep, Sleep Doctor, 16 July 2018, thesleepdoctor.com/2018/07/16/yes-

you-can-sleep-too-much-heres-why-oversleeping-is-a-problem/.

Dietitian, Joe Leech. “10 Reasons Why Good Sleep Is Important.” Healthline, Healthline Media,
24 Feb. 2020, www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-reasons-why-good-sleep-is-important.

“Get Enough Sleep.” Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S Department Of
Health And Human Services, 24 Jan. 2020, health.gov/myhealthfinder/topics/everyday-
healthy-living/mental-health-and-relationships/get-enough-sleep#panel-3.

“Home Page.” HelpGuide.org, Help Guide, 2 Apr. 2020, www.helpguide.org/.


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Nazario, Brunilda. “7 Surprising Health Benefits to Getting More Sleep.” WebMD, WebMD, 18
June 2019, www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/benefits-sleep-more.

Osmun, Rosie. “Oversleeping: The Effects & Health Risks of Sleeping Too Much.” Amerisleep,
Amerisleep, 5 Mar. 2020, amerisleep.com/blog/oversleeping-the-health-effects/.

“Oversleeping Side Effects: Is Too Much Sleep Harmful?” WebMD, WebMD, 15 Jan. 2020,
www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/physical-side-effects-oversleeping#2.

Stibich, Mark. “10 Top Health Benefits of Sleep.” Verywell Health, Verywell Health, 6 Nov.
2019, www.verywellhealth.com/top-health-benefits-of-a-good-nights-sleep-2223766.

Team, Spine. “What Happens to Your Body When You Don't Get Enough Sleep.” Health
Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 16 Oct. 2019,
health.clevelandclinic.org/happens-body-dont-get-enough-sleep/.

Wilson, Debra Rose, and Ashley Marcin. “What You Should Know About Oversleeping, Plus 5
Tips for Better Sleep.” Healthline, Healthline, 9 Dec. 2016,
www.healthline.com/health/oversleeping.

“Sleep-deprived.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-

webster.com/dictionary/sleep-deprived. Accessed 29 Mar. 2020.