Do You Sleep Enough Each Night?

It's 11 PM and you're sitting in front of your computer. You have a half-finished school essay, your Facebook news feed is open, and you're logged into iChat. Glancing at the clock, you sigh inwardly and acknowledge that you won't be getting much sleep tonight. Sound familiar?

With the multiple responsibilities that teens face, few actually meet the national guidelines of 8.5 hours of sleep per night. However, a new report from researchers at Brigham Young University illustrates that teens actually may not need as much sleep as once thought. The study compared hours of sleep per night to standardized test scores, and for 16-year-olds, students scored best on 7 hours of sleep.

Studies aside, it's pretty clear to me—at least from my experiences in high school and college—that more sleep is better. Due to time management, I'm usually able to sleep an average of 7-8 hours every night. I rarely get sick; I only weigh several pounds more than I did in high school (and I'm not a fan of exercise), and I do well academically. You can bet that I attribute a lot of these positives to steady sleeping habits.

The benefits of sleep are a hundredfold—besides feeling refreshed, you're less likely to gain weight and become depressed. It's recommended that you try to get at least 7 hours each night. You can minimize the amount of distractions in your bedroom by shutting off your computer at 11 PM or starting your homework earlier in the afternoon, so you can chat with your friends later at night. If you have trouble sleeping, make it a point to sleep at the same time every night. You'll naturally get tired around that time if you establish a routine.