Teenagers staying up late isn’t necessarily a recent occurrence. However, thanks to pop culture references like Twilight and True Blood, the social media trend #Vamping has started to pop up on the Facebooks and Twitters of American teens, The New York Times reported. With social media sites, chat rooms, Netflix, and, of course, their smartphones, teenagers are finding it easier to ignore the recommended eight to nine hours of sleep to stay in touch with their peers, but what could this lack of sleep mean for their health?
Two reasons for the recent vamping trend are mentioned by senior researcher at Microsoft Research in his book, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. The first being that night is the only time of the day available to teenagers for intimate conversation with friends. Teens may feel that the presence of parents, teachers, and other authority figures throughout their day does not give them the opportunity to interact with peers as they would like to. The second reason contends that night is the only time they are free to pursue their personal interests with a hectic day-to-day schedule filled with school, sports, and music lessons.
Regardless of their reasoning, teenagers may not realize what harm sleep deprivation is causing on their bodies. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the recommended amount of sleep for teenagers is between eight and nine hours of sleep per night. However, recent surveys have revealed that only around 15 percent of teens get eight and half hours of sleep on an average school night. One study even suggested that two-thirds of high school students are getting less than seven hours of sleep a night. The majority of these teens may be unaware of the consequences we face from avoiding sleep.
Failing to sleep during the night can limit our ability to learn, listen, concentrate, and solve problems throughout the day. Teenagers who avoid sleep are also more prone to acne and other skin problems. A lack of sleep can lead to weight gain by causing us to overeat or eat unhealthy food that is high in sugar and fat. Insomnia is highly common among people with depression, which is why experts correlate sleep deprivation with a 10-fold risk of developing depression compared to people who get an adequate amount of sleep.