Sleep Deprivation and Teens

Sleep deprivation

Is sleep deprivation a problem in your teen’s life? Teens today are trying to fit more into 24 hours than is possible. The result is that they seldom get enough sleep.

Hallie’s Schedule

Hallie sat at the breakfast table, but her mind and body weren’t awake. All she wanted was to crawl back under the covers. She had a major test in A.P. Government this morning and had studied until 2 a.m. That was bad enough, but when she turned out the lights, she was too wired to sleep. The last time she remembered looking at the time, it was 2:56 a.m. And now, she needed to be at school by 7:15 for athletics.

Sleep Deprivation Is Epidemic Among Teens

Does this sound familiar in your home? Too many teens today are in serious sleep deprivation most of the time. (January 17, 2014) published a report linking poor mental health among teens with lack of sleep. Suicide ideation as well as severe emotional problems increased among teens who lost even 30 to 36 minutes of sleep.

We all know teens need more sleep. But what can we do?

5 Ways to Attack the Problem

  • Find out where the time goes. For a week (or longer if schedules vary week to week), have your teen track his or her time. One way to do that is to use an electronic calendar, not to set future appointments, but to record activities. Paper charts also work. Record time rounded to quarter-hour blocks.
  • Compile the data. Perhaps the results might highlight wasted time or too much time on electronic devices. Or it might help a teen realize he or she is over-committed (not enough hours in a day to do what needs to be done).
  • Talk with your teen about the results. Does he need to limit time on Instagram? Is she daydreaming thirty minutes before she actually begins her homework? Is he taking too many A.P. classes?
  • Be sure your teen understands the importance of sleep. Research the effects of sleep deprivation.
  • Together, you and your teen, commit to make a change.

Sleep Deprivation and Teen’s Attitude

An added benefit of getting enough sleep is a better outlook on life in general. Perhaps the reason teens have a reputation for being hard to live with is that they are going through life in desperate need of a good night’s sleep.

Question: Do you have some thoughts about helping your teen get more sleep?

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