Your Teenager Needs More Sleep

Many parents and caregivers notice the teenage members of their family seem to need more sleep. In a new policy statement published at the end of August 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep, especially on school nights. Recent studies have revealed that only one in five teens get nine hours of sleep on school nights. When teens get the recommended amount of sleep it leads to academic success, better mental health, and alertness in every activity including driving.

It seems now more than ever; it is very common for teens to be overscheduled with activities, school work, and even jobs. According to the AAP, “the reasons for teens’ lack of sleep are complex, and include homework, extracurricular activities, after-school jobs, and use of technology that can keep them up late on week nights.” Although it may be possible to catch up on sleep over the weekend, naps and extending sleep may not make up the sleep debt for your teenager.

There are various ways to correct this epidemic, some which can be controlled by caregivers while others may require action from your school district.  You can help your teen by:

• Modeling Positive Sleep Habits • Enforcing a Media Curfew • Coordinating Extracurricular Activities to Decrease Scheduling Concerns • Allowing Some Extra Time on The Weekends for Sleep • Using Your Bed for Sleeping Only, Never Studying or Video Games • Going to Bed at the Same Time Nightly, Including on Weekends • Making Sure No Medications Have Side Effects like Sleeplessness • Keeping the Home Cool During the Night • Using a Sound Machine to Create White Noise

One major change that could help your teenager get a better night’s sleep is a later school start time because a teenager’s circadian rhythm shifts up to two hours later throughout puberty. Many teens may find it difficult to fall asleep before 11pm and wake up before 7:00am. The AAP released a statement saying, “The AAP is making a definitive and powerful statement about the importance of sleep to the health, safety, performance, and well-being of our nation’s youth…[we] support school start time delay as an important public health measure.”

There is much more to be discovered about sleep and the impact of a good night’s sleep on your brain as well as your teenager’s brain. If you are concerned about your own sleep patterns or have noticed your child struggling with sleep issues, schedule an appointment with the sleep doctors at FusionSleep today.