Teen Sleep Deprivation
What's the latest on teenagers and sleep? I've heard that very few of them are
getting the sleep they need, and it's hurting them academically.
Teen bodies need nine or 10 hours of
sleep per night, but many teenagers just don't feel sleepy until midnight or
later. So they do other things in the late evenings and deprive themselves of
enough sustained, unbroken sleep.
According to the National Sleep
Foundation, 60% of adolescents complain that they're tired during the school day.
No wonder: if they short themselves two or three hours of sleep each night, the
consequence may be that they have trouble waking up and feeling great about the
school day, and they may doze during class or feel droopy and tired.
What's the cause? They may be
oversocializing, or overstimulating themselves with too much TV, music, video
games and Instant Messengering. The point is, the further behind a teen falls
in sleep, the worse the teen tends to do academically, and the more stressed
out, moody and even at risk of motor vehicle accidents the young person will
What's the answer? A few districts
have discussed starting the high school day an hour later. But that's not
popular with "the real world." Individual effort by parents, to help your own
child get enough sleep, would go a long way toward helping everybody.
You just have to put your foot down
on sleep rules in your home. TV, computer and music must end at 9:30 p.m. The
young person can take a warm bath or shower and perhaps have a light, healthy
snack before bedtime. Bedtime should be at about 10 p.m. on school nights, and
maybe 11 p.m or midnight on weekend nights.
Teach your teen not to take in any
caffeine at all during the day, and certainly not in the hours before bedtime.
Watch out for caffeine content in chocolate and soda pop, too.