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"Sleep!" by Milly Chen

“Sleep affects almost every tissue in our bodies,” says Dr. Michael Twery, a sleep expert at NIH. During sleep, our body is supporting healthy brain function, maintaining our physical health and boosting the immune system.

For most of us, six hours of sleep a night isn't enough. Scientific evidence suggests that the average amount of sleep we need per night is around 8 hours and 40 minutes, with 13.5 percent of us needing 9 hours or more. I was shocked to find that my classmates and I had been sleeping less than 5 hours for months.

After I entered the 12th grade, staying up late became a regular occurrence with a large amount of college applications and heavy homework load from school courses. I often hear classmates say that they went to bed at 5 am, only sleeping three hours. This sounds crazy, however, I have no say in it at this time. My sleeping schedule is as unhealthy as my classmates’ and I can't believe how our bodies suffer from deprivation. In fact, our bodies show obvious signs of fatigue. I often see my classmates slightly moving their heads and falling asleep in class. And l have been striked with sleeplessness frequently when l did not sleep much. I clearly remember not being able to concentrate in class no matter how hard I tried if l was tired.

Research shows that lack of sleep contributes to many chronic health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity and depression. Since we haven't diagnosed any of these health problems, staying up late doesn't seem to be causing adverse internal effects. Young people tend to ignore the importance of sleep. However, long-term accumulation will cause irreversible harm to the body's health. Heart disease can cause death and it will be too late to regret it at that time. To avoid the worst consequences, it is necessary to change sleeping schedules and raise good habits.

Should l stay up late to earn an A in class? To get an ideal grade does not mean not sleeping, my parents taught me to find a method that suits me the most. They always remind me to go to bed early and wake up early in the morning if l there is too much work. For homework that is due before midnight, they suggest l ask for an extension if l really had trouble finishing it. Poor sleep may lead to worse test results and weaker ability to think.

It is misleading that good students always sacrifice their sleep to study. Low learning efficiency will also cause the need to stay up late to complete the homework. Staying up late is not worth it, because an unhealthy body cannot support prolonged fighting. We often say that a rubber band will break if it is stretched too tight. In fact, this can also be used as a metaphor for human beings, energy will run out if their bodies are too tired.

No matter how busy you are, remember that it is always important to sleep because your body needs rest!

Milly Chen, an international student from China, is a peer reader at school Writing Hub. Her pieces have been published in Young Scholars Journal and Teen Inks. Since 8th grade, she started her creative writing journey and attended various writing contests. To treasure delightful memories and appreciate meaningful things in life, she loves writing diaries. Even though it was difficult to not go back home for two years, she used writing to relieve stress. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, dancing, reading and watching movies. She is excited to share her unique story and read people’s wonderful work.

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