Teens: Don’t Skip on the Sleep

by Ryan Callander

To the dismay of children across the country, another school year is upon us. That means a new wardrobe, a fresh supply of notebooks, folders, pencils, pens, erasers and a whole slew of preparations. However, something which may be overlooked in getting your child ready for school is adjusting their sleep schedules.

Sleep is essential– so essential, in fact, that it is easy to overlook or take for granted. As a result, many people fail to get the necessary and recommended amount of sleep each night. The CDC notes that nearly 70% of high school students are not getting enough sleep. According to the CDC, adults should sleep between seven and nine hours each night. That number is even higher for teens (ages 10-17), with a recommended minimum of eight and half hours each night; ideally teens should be getting at least nine hours of sleep nightly.

In order to shower, eat, dress and arrive to school on time many students need to wake up before 6 am. This is a drastic change from the summer months when teens may regularly sleep up to 12 hours a day. With the lives of teens becoming more and more hectic and their time during the school year filled with any number of different responsibilities and activities, it is even more crucial that they awake each day having gotten an adequate amount of sleep.

Insufficient sleep can lead to lack of concentration, lowered ability to retain new information, impaired problem solving skills, irritability, and– listen up, teens– acne.

Here are some tips from the CDC and the National Sleep Foundation for healthier snoozing:

  • Establish a routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time. Your body works in rhythms, and we are creatures of habit. Your routine could also include some activity, like reading, just before you sleep that will tell your body it’s time to relax.
  • Be sure to use your bed only for sleep. Sit somewhere else in the house to watch television, do homework, or work on the computer.
  • Avoid eating large meals or exercising before going to bed.
  • Naps are okay, but keep them short and placed well before bedtime.
  • Avoid using pills or alcohol to assist with sleep. They usually offer a shallower, less-satisfying sleep and can lead to dependence. Likewise, no energy drink can replace a good night’s sleep.
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