Everyone needs sleep to survive. Every night, teenagers get 7-7.5 hours of sleep when they are supposed to be getting 9-9.5 hours of sleep. This shocking but truthful statistic awakened our senses and made us realize the epidemic that is plaguing high schoolers: the lack of sleep. The importance of getting sufficient rest each night aligns with our impact area which is health and wellness. We know that sleep affects our physical, mental, spiritual, metal, emotional, and environmental health. We need sleep in order to not only be healthy, but also to feel acutely awake and well. Sleep is important because it affects our ability to perform well in school, which is crucial to our eventual success in the future.
We recognized that the lack of sleep is a problem by talking to our fellow classmates and reading articles in the LA Times. Teenagers are constantly being burdened by the daily stresses of high school life such as homework. This prevents many from obtaining the minimum amount of sleep needed for optimum performance the next day, sending us into a vicious downward cycle of chronic sleep deprivation. We observed that not being able to get enough sleep is the number one complaint reiterated by high schoolers today. In addition, an LA Times article that came out in 2017 highlighted the fact that not enough is being done about this striking problem. While trying to develop ways to solve this problem, we realized that practically nothing has been done to combat it-- especially at the high school level. However, we have noted that Project Night Night has been providing homeless children with care packages to help them fall asleep at night. Because not enough empowering projects like these have arisen, we are working our hardest to come up with ways to help high schoolers get enough sleep through our tips, preventative action to decrease procrastination, stress relief workshops, relaxation techniques, and advocative education.
More recently, National Geographic came out with a science based article highlighting the importance of sleep. National Geographic is highly reputable and has been around for generations, so our team definitely applauded the fact that they would cite the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which stated that "more than 80 million American adults are chronically sleep deprived". According to the National Geographic article, "the Monday after a daylight saving time change in the U.S., there’s a 24 percent increase in heart attacks, compared with other Mondays, and a jump in fatal car crashes too". In addition, "During our lifetimes, about a third of us will suffer from at least one diagnosable sleep disorder. They range from chronic insomnia to sleep apnea to restless leg syndrome to much rarer and stranger conditions...Anyone who regularly sleeps less than six hours a night has an elevated risk of depression, psychosis, and stroke. Lack of sleep is also directly tied to obesity". The facts put out by this article are incredibly concerning and provide another reason why we must target issues related to sleep deprivation.
Through the course of our journey, we discovered through Instagram many organizations targeting mental health awareness who also value the importance of sleep. Similarly, there were many companies who followed us that sell products that help people sleep, an initiative we definitely support. However, none of these non-profits or businesses were spreading their message through art---a form which, as a team, we find incredibly powerful.
Sleep has become incredibly important to each of our club members. We all recognize the need to attain at least 9 hours of sleep every night. Here are some reasons they cited early on in the year as to why sleep is important to them: