Final Project: Investigate

17/05/2011 § Leave a comment

The topic I’ve chosen to address in this final health/tech lit. project for the class is normal sleeping patterns. I chose this subject (sleep) because ever since middle school, I’ve started staying up late to finish lots of projects or to bake food for an event the next day. At first, I didn’t think it was much of a problem because even if I slept after midnight, the next day, I’m still able to function properly and do what I need to do the next day. However, in high school, it might be the weight of the work or the increased amounts of homework, but sometimes I can’t stay awake at school and can’t function as well. Usually, I just feel tired. Getting the proper amount of sleep has become something of an obsession for me. I love sleep and I love getting sleep and it’s not a matter of health or taking care of myself; I just like to sleep. Nowadays (especially this month, May), I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep and I’ve noticed some of the effects of that. This project will probably help me find out what the problem is and find a way to fix it so I can get enough sleep to satisfy myself.

I’ve done so much research for this project, I almost didn’t want to post the APA bibliography because it would take up so much space. With the help of Mrs. Ishihara, I was able to find some subquestions and subtopics to help me research normal sleeping patterns. The questions that helped fuel my research were:

  • What is my sleeping pattern?
  • Why do teenagers sleep like they do?
  • What is a normal sleeping pattern?
  • What are adult’s sleeping patterns?
  • Why do teenagers need to sleep?
  • Some statistics on sleeping patterns?
  • What are the mental/physical effects on teens?

Identifying my own sleeping pattern was simple enough for me. Most recently, I’ve shown an interest in improving my sleep pattern and have started sleeping early and getting up early in the morning. I’ve calculated the hours of sleep and rest I get if I get to be by 9:30 or 10:00pm and wake up at 4:00. I will typically get about six to six and a half hours and for me, that’s enough hours. Throughout the next day, I’ll be active, moving, overly chipper, happy and thinking fast. However, during the times when I have a lot of work to do (maybe I procrastinated earlier), then I sometimes take an hour or more of a nap after school and stay up late (please don’t judge, I’ve learned what’s right and wrong after my research), sometimes after 2 o’clock, just to finish work. Also, on the weekends, I only get up when my body automatically wakes up (on Saturdays) and if my parents wake me up for church on Sundays. Other than that, my weekends consist of sleeping til late mornings and working for the rest of the day – and maybe taking a nap later in the afternoon.

I figured that teenagers sleep like they do because of procrastination and the work load and stubbornly staying on the computer (Skype and Facebook, more specifically) til the dawn of day, or until they get really tired, which is (for some people) at 3 in the morning. However, some people, me included, actually stay up on a regular basis for a reason: we just have a lot of work. I admit, maybe I procrastinated and left it all til these last three weeks of school to do, which is why I’m staying up more nowadays. Procrastination and work load in high school could be one of the reasons that teenagers sleep like they do. Surfing the net is another cause for sleeping late. Some of my research led me to find out that sleep deprivation could be linked to depression, too. Depression, however, could be the cause or the effect of sleep deprivation.

Throughout my research, I’ve looked up “normal sleeping patterns” and have found graphs and tables that give me the “normal” sleeping patterns for a certain age. On the contrary, what I’ve concluded from most of my research (and from what most scientists say in the websites/articles I’ve read) is that every single person has their own sleeping schedule that best suits them. Some people can actually live on 6 hours of sleep and be content but others need up to 9 hours of sleep. What matters is experimenting with the different sleeping schedules you know about and finding which one best suits you.

I’ve also looked up the scientific and psychologic explanations of sleep and what happens when we sleep. Some people may refuse to sleep but our bodies need the sleep to recharge and renew our organs. (One piece of information I retrieved is that the lack of sleep can cause the malfunction of neurons, which will affect a person’s behavior.) There are two main types of sleep. Rapid Eye Movement sleep (REM) and Non-Rapid Eye Movement sleep (NREM). REM sleep is just one stage but NREM sleep has about four stages. These stages are transition to sleep, light (real) sleep, deep sleep, and deeper sleep. REM sleep consists of dreaming, takes about 70-90 minutes and takes up most of our sleeping time. I’ve read this information in more detail but the notes I’ve taken take more than 4 pages on a Word processor so it would be best to just summarize everything.

From the information I’ve gathered during my research, some of the statistics given in the websites are all different (i.e. “…people need 8 hours, 6 hours, 7 hours, or 9 hours of sleep;” the data is spread out). However, the websites have suggested multiple ways to avoid sleep deprivation (one popular one is to find your own sleep schedule and to avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine), and have mentioned multiple mental and physical side effects. These include:

  • fatigue, irritability, lack of motivation, moodiness, reduced creativity and problem solving skills, inability to cope withs tress, frequent colds and infections, memory/concentration problems, weight gain, difficulty making decisions, increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and other health problems

These side effects are both mental and physical but irritability (the bolded) is the side effect I’ve recently seen in myself. This is basically why I chose this topic. It relates to me health-wise and relates back to the mental health (and physical health) unit we had back in 2010. I’ve noticed that so many of the factors and effects have applied to me and its admittedly a little worrying. Now, I have more information on sleep and sleep patterns, though and with a proper presentation, I could probably tell the rest of the class what they’re doing wrong and what they should be doing.


  • Are sleep problems normal as we get older? (2008, August 13). Retrieved from,,20218561,00.html This website is trustworthy because the language is sufficient and it provides in text hyperlinks to cite the topics it discusses (provides justification links).
  • Derbyshire, D. (2008, October 16). The ‘myth’ of sleep deprivation; Rest easy: Most get enough sleep, it is claimed [Article]. Retrieved from Questia database. This source is viable because it comes from the database Questia which is suggested by Ms. Schatzky, our librarian, and is one of the databases the school uses.
  • Fitzpatrick, J. (2010, May 26). How to reboot your sleep cycle and get the rest you deserve. Retrieved from This is a justifiable source because the writer is cited at the top of the page many people on the Facebook icon have liked this article, which means that it must have been helpful. Also, the writing doesn’t show any signs of being false and misleading information.
  • Physical effects of sleep deprivation. (2011, March 14). Retrieved from Effects of Sleep Deprivation website: This website is valid and usable because it advertises no ads and commercials by Google and (according to the website) is dedicated to all of the effects of sleep deprivation.
  • Psychological effect of sleep deprivation. (2011). Retrieved from LoveToKnow Corp. website: This page is valid and usable because it cites a doctor with a Ph.D and mentions a many medical and psychological terms linked with sleep.
  • Smith, M., Saisan, J., & Segal, R. (2011, January). How to sleep better: Tips for getting a good night’s sleep. Retrieved from This site is justifiable because the three authors that contributed to the writing are cited at the bottom of the page and it was last reviewed at the beginning of this year.
  • Smith, M., & Segal, R. (2010, July). How much sleep do you need? Retrieved from The authors of this page are cited at the bottom, related sites are linked at the bottom, and throughout the text, there are hyperlinks, bullet points and graphs that tell me that this page truly intends to be informative.
  • Stibich, M., Ph.D. (2008, October 30). Sleep and aging. Retrieved from website: This page is valid to use because not only does it provide state the author of the page, but the author also lists down his sources.
  • Stöppler, M. C. (n.d.). Sleep. Retrieved from MedicineNet, Inc. website: This is a legitimate source because the page is written by a medical doctor, who provides a page of her medical history.
  • What sleep deprivation can do to our brain. (2010, August 27). Retrieved from Questia database. This article was pulled from the school database Questia which makes it a legitimate source.

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