Is your teen getting enough sleep?
Even though it is summer, making sure your children get enough sleep is still important. It is no surprise that most teens are getting insufficient sleep (7 hours or less of sleep per night). Recent studies show that approximately 70% of high school students are not getting enough sleep:
6% report 4 hours or less
10% report 5 hours
21% report 6 hours
30% report 7 hours
Inadequate sleep has been directly linked with an increased risk of motor vehicle crashes, sports injuries and impaired academic performance. Among adolescents, 2/3 of all fatalities are related to traffic crashes. In addition to other factors, such as drinking and driving and distracted driving from texting, which can dramatically increase a teen’s risk of a motor vehicle accident, sleep deprivation impairs the adolescent’s attention span and reaction time, and may also be linked to poor judgement and increased likelihood of disregarding the consequences of risk taking behavior behind the wheel.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for teenagers. Here are some suggestions for parents to encourage appropriate sleep hygiene for teens:
- Attempt to keep to a routine sleep schedule, even on the weekends
- Exercise daily, but preferably not after dinner
- Turn off all electronic devices before going to bed. YES, this includes the cell phones, TV, tablets, etc. Even in vibrate/silent mode, the disruption of the sleep cycle caused by constant “buzzing” can be a significant cause of sleep cycle interruption.
- Avoid caffeine, particularly in the evening hours. This includes teas, energy drinks and coffee.
Make the effort to encourage good sleeping habits in your teens now so they can carry these habits with them as they become young adults.