Dancing with Earthquakes
The Effects Of Teen Sleep Deprivation
By Rosana Clarkson
Feb 28, 2010 - 11:49:35 PM

LOS ANGELES—I’ve heard it said that teens have a significant need for sleep—in fact, 8-10 hours a night is recommended.  However, I was likely one of these kids who didn’t pay attention to these requirements. 

 

When I was 16, and living with my mother and younger brother and sister, whom she had by her second husband, I was rather behind in some of my school assignments, (like five semesters), and because the younger kids were still toddlers I watched over them while my mother went with my stepfather to get a ride to work, or to a club or whatever. It gave me a chance not to listen to her daily rantings about how much she didn’t want me around, along with the stepdad coming home high and then shutting all the doors and windows to smoke cigarettes while I coughed, but it did help me see that life wasn’t altogether bad.

 

And so after I put the young’un’s in their cribs I started to work on several weeks of missed history assignments, (my United States History book made an interesting pillow), when I was awoken by a sudden: 

 

“AAAAAWWWWWWWKKKKKRAWWWWWWWWWAAAACK!”

 

I dismissed it as nothing to be alarmed about and heard it again: 

 

“AAAAAAAAAWWWWWWKKKKKKKKKKKAAAAAAAAAAAACK!”

 

“Well.  Maybe if I don’t pay attention to it, it will go a—” 

 

“AWWWWWWWKKKKKKKAWWWWWRAAAACK!!” 

 

“Unless I’m having a dream,” I theorized as I heard another “AWWWWWWWKKKKKKKAWWWWWRAAAACK!” 

 

“If that’s the case, this is one of my more pleasant ones,” I said, getting up and stumbling.

 

“’AWWWWWWWKKKKKKKAWWWWWRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!’”

At least that was my interpretation of it, so I woke up to realize that it was coming from the general direction of the room where I had set the kids in their beds to sleep, and began to nod over my books. 

 

Then I heard the scream again: 

 

“AAAAAAAAWWWWWWWKKKKKKAAAWWWWWACK!”   

And so when I went to the bedroom, the tone of the screech began to rise to deafening decibels, and, in my sleep-deprived state I had a momentary image of a raptor flying down to devour me alive, and so it took me a moment or two to realize this was my little brother screaming.

 

     “Now, now, there, there,” I said, after walking around for perhaps six hours to try to quiet this dog-mauled cat, (it took me a couple of hours to realize it was actually a baby).  “Now that you’re finally asleep, will you please shut—be quiet, while you allow me to sift through five semesters of unfinished homework, as Mommy and Daddy are still out and it is not likely that they will be back for a while?  Thank you,” I said, laying him down in his crib. 

“Ahhhhh”¦such little angels they are when they are this young,” I said, walking out the room, not before hearing a hair-raising: 

 

“AWWWWWWWKKKKKKKAWWWWWRAAAACK!”

 

     So shortly after I went to sleep later that evening, (actually morning), I woke up wide-eyed and refreshed and bushy-tailed, one minute later, after my mom whapped me in the face with a pillow.

 

“GET UP, it’s 6 a.m.  You are quite likely the most laziest and selfish person I know!”  she shouted.

 

So as I walked around the living room wondering who or where I was, I tripped and fell over something, (maybe my own feet), and  I think I picked up on a distant chortle coming from the general direction of my stepdad.

 

 



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