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The eight-hour necessity Q&As: Grace Berlin

Name: Grace Berlin

Grade: 10

When do you normally go to bed and wake up?

“I wake up super late in the day, super late compared to most people. I usually wake up at like 6:45 a.m. I get ready pretty quick and I go to bed. Usually the latest [is] 10:30 p.m. when I try and turn my phone off and everything and shut my eyes.”

Would you say that you have a consistent sleep schedule?

“I do during the weekdays, usually, but on the weekends, it’s kind of a free for all to get as much sleep as I possibly can. So I’d say for the most part.”

What do you do when you can’t fall asleep?

“Well, I usually take melatonin every single night, which isn’t really healthy, but it does the job usually. And when I can’t sleep—that usually doesn’t happen, I sleep a lot—I will usually pet my dog, Dj. [It] really is really relaxing for me. Or I try and read a book, like a really boring one.”

Can you compare how you feel after a good night’s sleep versus a bad one?

“On a bad night’s sleep, after I drink caffeine, I get all shaky, like the squirrel from Over the Hedge. I usually am very irritable. I get really grouchy. I’m kind of like a toddler when I don’t get a good night’s sleep. I’ll throw a tantrum, and I have a harder time rationalizing my thoughts. If something bad happens, it’s just immediately worst-case scenario as opposed to being able to logically think through it. And I don’t know, people irritate me a lot more when I do not get good sleep. [A] good night’s sleep, however, [you] really can’t beat it. I’m happier. I’m more engaged and involved in all things community. I really am just a model citizen when I get a good night’s sleep. I’m a lot more engaged with the people around me. I’m more active, I will do homework in my kitchen as opposed to in my bed, because when I’m tired I just do it in my bed. And I have more energy for the people around me to walk my dog, and do better in school. Overall [a] good night’s sleep is very important to me.”

Why do you think sleep habits are so bad in high school?

“I think there’s a lot of reasons. Naturally, teenagers produce melatonin later than adults. During your sleep schedule, there was a study about it where teenagers have a different melatonin production where it doesn’t start to produce until 11:00 p.m. Whereas adults start at like 9:30, which is usually why parents are more tired. And so that’s part of why it is. And also there are not enough hours in the day to do stuff and I think part of that is just our school culture. If you’re not involved in 10 things, then you’re considered lazy. So I usually have lots of stuff to do because I’m involved in a lot of extracurriculars, so I don’t have time to do all my stuff until nighttime. Also, a lot of people rely heavily on caffeine, which can mess up how your body naturally reacts to being awake. And I think for me personally, it’d be caffeine, and there’s a lot of it that goes through my system at all times, or else I’m crashing. So I think it’s caffeine and also just the level of work we have to do. And then even when you get it done, you still want time for yourself in the day. And sometimes that just happens at night or really early in the morning for some people. I am not some people.”

Why do you think sleep is important?

“I think sleep is important because it just fuels your body, it gives you time to rest. It gives you a break from thinking about school and other stuff. And especially if you take melatonin, you can have really cool dreams, so it’s fun.”

Have you ever had any weird dreams you can remember?

I had a dream once that Logan Paul was a zombie. And I was in the zombie apocalypse to defeat zombie Logan Paul. [Weird dreams] happen all the time. [You] can’t really fight them, but it’s okay. It leads to some fun stories that only I know.”

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