Sleep Deprivation Essay

Submitted By KavitaAmbu1
Words: 1279
Pages: 6

Kavita Ambu Mr.Adlam HSP 3M0 – F Thursday, May 24, 2012 Anthro Essay: Sleep Deprivation
Sleep is a complex thing. It is essential for survival yet for some reason, people are not getting enough of it. According to Wayne Sproule, “…sleep takes up almost one third of our lives and when deprived of it, we feel terrible…” (Sproule, 67). However, more people are embracing a lifestyle that is fueled on artificial energy, like caffeine, rather than sleep. A concept that is always debateable is what causes this lack of sleep. For most, it is easy to argue that they cannot sleep because they simply do not feel tired. However, what is never looked at are the various factors that play a role in sleep deprivation which can come from: infancy, a child’s teenage years, or even adulthood. Infancy contains the most crucial moments of a child’s existence; the, “…attention [they recieve] in those early years can effect [their] entire life” (Sproule 119). However, when it comes to those first three months, it is the child’s responsibility to determine their sleeping pattern and activate their ability to sleep; this is known as the child’s sleep self-initiation skills. However when parents, the main socializing agent in a child’s life, act as, “… inappropriate proximal cues,” they interfere with the self- initiation process (France 272). For example, when parents rock their children at night, the back and forth motion acts as a stimulus. This forces the child to remain awake for a longer period. Thus, the child is unable to self-initiate sleep and can no longer rest peacefully during the night. At this point, the concerned parent steps in but instead they continue to overstimulate the child in an attempt to sooth them, reinforcing negative sleeping practices (refer to figure 1). Culture also plays a contributing factor in a child’s life as it influences how often they will sleep. If a child were raised in a Western culture, they would become accustomed to a monophasic style of sleeping. These cultures tend to harbour the idea that, “sleep should occur within a single block or period” (Morin 224). However, if the child were raised in a polyphasic sleeping culture, they would be encouraged to take naps throughout the day. For example, in Japan it is considered normal for kids to take naps, “…during public, observable working situations”, whereas in a Western society a child would be scolded for sleeping during a presentation (Morin 225). Therefore, if the child is raised in an environment that is different from the sleeping culture they are born into, a stable sleeping pattern will not be formed and the child will suffer from sleep deprivation. Now, if a child is unable to develop healthy sleeping patterns during infancy, the issue can follow them into their adolescence. “As many as 30% of all teenagers suffer from a sleep disorder” (“Causes of Teenage Sleep Problems – Life 123”). A couple reasons teens suffer from sleep deprivation are due to biological and social factors in their life. During puberty, “The…"daily rhythms" that are maintained by the brain are altered” (Martel). This means that the internal clock within teens is adjusted; they feel more inclined to stay up later during the night and sleep in during the day. Therefore, when school systems require students to wake up early for classes, they rob them of sleep. The social component of teenage sleep deprivation stems from mismanaged time and the media. Nowadays, teens spend more time either procrastinating or getting involved in extracurricular activities. In order to compensate for wasted time, they then try to pull all nighters. On the other hand, research done by Canadian teens by Pediatrics and Child Health on Canadian teens states that ,“…only 18% of girls and 14% of boys met the recommendation of 2h or less of entertainment media per day” (“Television viewing, computer use and total screen time in Canadian youth.”). The reason teens are