Teens and sleep, the real story
While your teenager may not really care that sleep is necessary for them to be able to function properly, parents know that when their teen is sleeping, their body is preparing itself to meet the demands of the coming day. Teens who get a good night’s sleep perform better in school and have more energy in general. Lack of sleep is also a concern if your teen is behind the wheel.
Here are the sleep facts that your teen should be aware of:
- It’s true that the circadian rhythms of the teenager are different than that of an adult – meaning that it’s more than natural for your teen to still be wide awake at 11 p.m. while you’re nodding off at 9. Unfortunately, if your teen has to get up early for school, he or she should be hitting the pillow at a “decent” hour in order to get the necessary 9 hours of sleep a night.
- Teens need close to 10 hours of sleep a night to be at peak performance but they rarely get eight. A study found that only 15% of teens asked got eight hours of sleep on school nights.
- A good night’s sleep can help you meet the demands and stresses of being a teenager.
- Teens who struggle to get on a regular sleep schedule during the week and who stay up later on the weekend put stresses on their body’s biological clock.
- Even teenagers can suffer from sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome or narcolepsy.
What happens if your teen doesn’t get enough sleep?
- Weight gain can occur if your teen doesn’t get enough sleep because being tired leads to eating too many unhealthy foods
- Being sleepy can heighten the effects of alcohol on the system and could increase your teen’s dependence on caffeine and nicotine
- Can make his or her skin more prone to breakouts as lack of sleep is a contributing factor to acne and other skin problems
- Can negatively affect your teen’s ability to concentrate and solve problems, thereby negatively impacting school grades
- Could lead to aggressive behavior
- Illness and other health issues can arise if your teen’s body is sluggish and run down from lack of sleep.
How to help your teen get the sleep he or she needs:
- Stress the importance of getting a good night’s sleep.
- Offer them the opportunity to nap for a bit once they get home from school. It could be the quick pick-me-up they need to keep going. Make certain naps are less than 30 minutes or it will interfere with bed time.
- Don’t let your teen fall in a habit of relying on sleep aids to fall asleep.
- Keep your teen’s bedroom a haven for sleep. Remove distractions such as the television and video games.
- Establish a regular bedtime and wake up time. The more regular the schedule, the more your teen’s body will adjust to it, making it easier for him or her to fall into productive sleep. This means keeping to the school week schedule even on the weekends.
- Don’t eat, sleep or exercise too close to bedtime as this could disrupt the sleep schedule.
It’s up to the parents to stress the importance of sleep for their teen by setting a good example. If you find your teen suffering from a possible sleep disorder, speak with your physician or a sleep specialist.
Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients. Their Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists consist of experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice across a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems. They accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare. For more information contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900; http://www.valleysleepcenter.com