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Teens Need Sleep!

by Jennifer S. Rowe | October 24th, 2014 | School, Teens

file0001568333580Teens have very busy schedules starting very early in the morning, so sleep is a very important component when it comes to their success or failure. I know that if my teenage son doesn’t get enough sleep, it is a recipe for disaster! Sleep deprivation effects everything from your teen’s ability to focus, to his or her having a bad attitude. I know that if I don’t get enough sleep, I am not the most pleasant person to deal with!

Adolescents are notorious for not getting enough sleep. The average amount of sleep that teenagers get is between seven and seven and a quarter hours. What they need is between nine  and nine and a half hours (studies show that most teenagers need exactly nine and a quarter hours of sleep). According to the Neuroscience Center, teenagers do not get enough sleep for a number of reasons:

Shift in sleep schedule: After puberty, there is a biological shift in a teen’s internal clock of about two hours, meaning that a teenager who used to fall asleep at 9:00 PM will now not fall asleep until 11:00PM. It also means waking two hours later in the morning. Early high school start times: In most school districts, the move to high school means an earlier school start time. Some high schools start as early as 7:00 AM, meaning that some teenagers have to get up as early as 5:00 AM to get ready for and travel to school, social and school obligations. Homework, sports, after-school activities (often occurring during the evening), and socializing lead to late bedtimes. As a result, most adolescents are very sleep deprived.

Sleep deprivation will impact many aspects of your teenager’s functioning: Mood: Sleep deprivation will cause your teenager to be moody, irritable, and cranky. Behavior: Teenagers who are sleep deprived are also more likely to engage in risk-taking, such as drinking, driving fast, and engaging in other dangerous activities. Cognitive ability: Inadequate sleep will result in problems with attention, memory, decision making, reaction time, and creativity, all of which are important in school. Academic performance: Studies show that teenagers who get less sleep are more apt to get poor grades in school, fall asleep in school, and have school absences. Drowsy driving: Teenagers are at the highest risk for falling asleep at the wheel. Drowsy driving is most likely to occur in the middle of the night (2:00 to 4:00 AM), but also in mid-afternoon (3:00 to 4:00 PM).

To help your teen avoid any of the pitfalls of sleep deprivation, you should help them maintain a regular sleep schedule, and help them unplug at night, meaning no computers, phones, iPods, iPads or television. This is one of the biggest reasons for teens not getting enough sleep! You should also make sure they are not overdoing it when it comes to caffeinated beverages that will inhibit their ability to rest. Something that works for my son is chamomile tea, naturally caffeine free and great for calming your teen to sleep. Help set them up for success in school by teaching them to unplug, relax and drift off to some much needed sleep!

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