Teen Guides to Health & Wellness Anxiety, Depression, and Mood Disorders Diets, Cleanses, and Fitness Drugs and Alcohol School and Your Health Sexuality and Gender Identity Sleep and Hygiene Smoking and Vaping Social Media and the Internet Suicide and Self-Harm Tattoos, Piercings, and Body Modifications

Teen Guides to Health & Wellness

H.W. Poole

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Copyright © 2023 by Mason Crest, an imprint of National Highlights, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in the United States of America First printing 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Series ISBN: 978-1-4222-4419-7 Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4222-4426-5 ebook ISBN: 978-1-4222-7389-0 Cataloging-in-Publication Data on file with the Library of Congress

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CONTENTS Introduction. ...................................................................6 Chapter 1: Understanding Sleep......................................9 Chapter 2: Sleep Problems............................................29 Chapter 3: Understanding Hygiene................................49 Chapter 4: What Do I Do Now?. ......................................67 Organizations and Hotlines............................................88 Further Reading and Online Resources...........................90 Series Glossary of Key Terms.......................................... 92 Index. ............................................................................94 About the Author / Credits. ............................................96 K E Y I C O N S T O L O O K F O R : Words to Understand: These words with their easy-to-understand definitions will increase the reader’s understanding of the text while building vocabulary skills. Sidebars: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Educational Videos: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing them with additional educational content to supplement the text. Examples include news coverage, moments in history, speeches, iconic sports moments, and much more! Text-Dependent Questions: These questions send the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there. Research Projects: Readers are pointed toward areas of further inquiry connected to each chapter. Suggestions are provided for projects that encourage deeper research and analysis. Series Glossary of Key Terms: This back-of-the-book glossary contains terminology used throughout this series. Words found here increase the reader’s ability to read and comprehend higher-level books and articles in this field.

For many teens, the ability to go long periods without sleep is a sort of “badge of honor.” Sometimes it’s “pulling an all-nighter” to write a paper at the last minute. Other times it’s staying up for hours playing games or chatting with friends on social media. But whatever the motivation, the phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is repeated over and over as if that were somehow a form of wisdom. It’s not. Sleep is an incredibly important part of your day, and, contrary to rumor, it is not lost or wasted time. The body, in particular the brain, depends on adequate sleep for physical and emotional health. And yet the media tell us we are in the middle of a “sleep crisis.” Americans are experiencing near-epidemic levels of exhaustion, impacting our health, our decision making, and even our physical safety. Teens especially struggle with getting enough sleep—and to be honest, our educational system is not helping them. Teens are overstressed and overscheduled. Many high schools start their day at about 7:00 a.m., which research tells us is too early for the teen brain. This book looks at why sleep is so important and what can go wrong if you aren’t getting enough. It presents the facts on a variety of sleep problems that can occur, and provides down to-earth advice on “sleep hygiene,” a term that refers to how our environment and behavior affect how we sleep. Speaking of hygiene, chapter 3 looks at that other type of hygiene—keeping ourselves clean—and offers tips on how to make sure we are presenting the best version of ourselves that we can.


Many teens struggle with getting enough sleep.


Sleep gives your brain the opportunity to process everything that happened during the day.


antibodies: proteins in the blood that fight off viruses and bacteria cardiovascular: relating to the heart and circulation degenerative: describes a disease that causes increasing damage over time innate: inborn or natural narcolepsy: a disorder in which someone can fall into deep sleep at any moment progressive: something that moves ahead step by step


Understanding Sleep

If you are a teenager, you’re probably tired. Study after study has shown that the vast majority of teens are not getting the amount of sleep they need. Many teens don’t actually know how much sleep that is. You may be surprised to learn that the average teenager needs more sleep than adults, not less. This chapter will explain what is going on in your body while you sleep, why that is so important, and the problems associated with being poorly rested. The Rhythm of a Day The word circadian is a combination of two Latin words: circa , meaning “about,” and dies , meaning “day.” Although its roots are old, circadian itself is not an old term; it was invented by a scientist in 1959 to describe a period of approximately twenty-four hours in the life of an organism. All organisms—everything from humans and animals to plants and bacteria—have internal “clocks” or schedules


All animals have internal “clocks” or schedules that control functions such as when to be asleep and when to be awake.

that control functions such as body temperature, hunger, cell division, the release of particular hormones, and, most importantly for our purposes, when to be asleep and when to be awake. The circadian rhythm is innate , which is another way of saying it happens automatically and is beyond our control to a large extent. Mammals have what’s described as a “master clock” of approximately 20,000 nerve cells that sit in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The technical term for this “master clock” is the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). The SCN manages the timing of all sorts of bodily functions, including (but not limited to) sleep. Significantly, it receives lots of data from the eyes. When the SCN registers that the sun has gone down, it stimulates the production

Teen Guides to Health & Wellness: Sleep and Hygiene


of a hormone called melatonin, which makes the person gradually begin to feel sleepy. The innate nature of the circadian rhythm explains why “jet lag” exists. Let’s say you take a flight from Boston to San Francisco. In that case, your internal clock will be running three hours ahead of the body clock of the person who picks you up at the airport. Fortunately, your circadian rhythm can adjust to changes in the environment; it may take a day or two, but your Boston-based body clock will get used to the new time zone. People who’ve experienced physical damage

Understanding Sleep


to their SCN—which can occur for a variety of reasons, including tumors, brain trauma, and certain degenerative diseases—tend to sleep at odd times. But unlike jet lag, that’s not something that will correct itself; the person’s sleep times are thrown off because the “master clock” is broken. This tells us that, while the circadian rhythmmay be innate, it’s not permanently fixed. In fact, humans have been slowly but surely adjusting their circadian rhythms for generations. While you hear a lot of talk about the “sleep crisis” these days, the roots of the problem actually stretch back to the early nineteenth century and the invention of electric light. Before electricity use became widespread, people only had tools like candles and oil lamps to push away the darkness. Could you stay up late by candlelight? Of course you could, and people did all the time. But candles can’t turn a dim room into a bright one, or a dark street into a lit one, in the way that electricity can. Consider: it takes 100 candles to match the amount of light generated by one 60-watt bulb. The result is that electricity has enabled us to extend the day far beyond what our circadian rhythm would naturally suggest. It’s no accident that New York City gained its nickname “the city that never sleeps” in the early years of the twentieth century. In 1912, a newspaper in Fort Wayne Indiana suggested that people should “add to [New York City’s] title of the city that never sleeps that of the city that never grows dark .” The two ideas—absence of light and absence of sleep—are intimately connected due to the impact of light on our circadian rhythms. These days, the presence of what is called “blue light” has complicated the situation even further (see chapter 4 for ways of dealing with blue light).

Teen Guides to Health & Wellness: Sleep and Hygiene


Major cities such as New York are usually lit up twenty-four hours a day.

What Is the Sleep Cycle? The circadian rhythm is not the only cycle that impacts our sleep. Although we may assume that not much happens while we are sleeping, there is in fact a whole lot going on. And all that activity is, yes, cyclical. There’s a popular meme online that goes, “I love sleep because it’s a time machine to breakfast.” The implication is that sleep is a sort of non -experience in which you essentially leap immediately from night to morning. Although the joke is a modern one, that idea—of sleep as an empty phase—is actually a perfect reflection of how people viewed sleep for a long time.

Understanding Sleep


Scientists assumed that the brain was more or less “turned off” during sleep. In 1929, the invention of the electroencephalogram (EEG) enabled scientists to record the brain waves of sleeping people. What scientists found was amazing: not only does the brain not shut down during sleep, but it is extremely active at certain points. The next question was, why? What are sleeping people thinking about? The modern field of sleep study set out to find the answers.

The electroencephalogram (EEG) allows scientists to record the brain waves of sleeping people.

Teen Guides to Health & Wellness: Sleep and Hygiene


In addition to EEGs, another technique for studying sleep involves recording movements of the eyes beneath slumbering eyelids. This study of eye movement during sleep provided the names of the two main types of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. We cycle back and forth between these states during the night—four or five times on a normal night. Each type of sleep is important for different reasons. Having a better understanding of the sleep cycle may help you make better decisions about how to get the amount of rest that your brain and body need. Non-REM Sleep The first stage of a sleep cycle is NREM sleep. People who study sleep divide NREM sleep into three phases: N1, N2, and N3. (Some descriptions of the sleep cycle add an additional phase to the beginning, before the first N1 stage. It’s essentially when the person begins to feel drowsy. Muscles gradually relax, the heart rate and breathing slow down, and the eyelids get heavier. But this extra phase only occurs when the person first goes to bed—this pre-sleep phase is not part of the sleep cycle that repeats itself throughout the night. That’s why not all descriptions of the sleep cycle include it.) NREM sleep is progressive , in the sense that each of the N1, N2, and N3 phases is a “deeper” sleep than the one before. Breathing and heart rate slow down, as does brain activity. The N3 phase is sometimes called the “slow wave” phase because of the way brain waves look on an EEG. In the earliest part of the cycle, it’s fairly easy to wake someone up. But as NREM progresses, that gets harder—someone awakened from N3 sleep is likely to be groggy and confused. The entire NREM

Understanding Sleep


phase lasts approximately one hour, although that varies throughout the course of the night. As the sleep cycle goes on, NREM phases become shorter and the person spends more time in the second type of sleep, REM. REM Sleep When the N3 phase of NREM sleep comes to an end, the person “ascends” back to N2 sleep, meaning the brain gradually becomes more active. This leads to REM sleep, also called “active” sleep because of that increase in brain

Being asleep is not just one state of being, but rather a series of cycles.

Teen Guides to Health & Wellness: Sleep and Hygiene


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