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and other electronic gadgets. More
than 90 percent of teens in a recent
study published in the Journal of School
Health reported sleeping less than the
recommended nine hours a night. In the
same study, 10 percent of teens reported
sleeping less than six hours a night.
Although this might seem like no big
deal, sleep deprivation can have serious
consequences. Tired teens can fnd it
diffcult to concentrate and learn, or
even stay awake in class. Too little sleep
also might contribute to mood swings
and behavioral problems. Another major
concern is drowsy driving, which can
lead to serious - even deadly - accidents.
Resetting the clock
The good news is that your teen doesn’t
have to be at the mercy of his or her
internal clock. To help your teen develop
better sleep habits:
Adjust the lighting.
As bedtime
approaches, dim the lights. Then
turn off the lights during sleep. In the
morning, expose your teen to bright
light. These simple cues can help
signal when it’s time to sleep and
when it’s time to wake up.
Stick to a schedule.
Tough as it may
be, encourage your teen to go to bed
and get up at the same time every
day - even on weekends. Prioritize
extracurricular activities and curb
late-night social time as needed. If
your teen has a job, limit working
hours to no more than 16 to 20 hours
a week.
Nix long naps.
If your teen is drowsy
during the day, a 30-minute nap
after school might be refreshing. Be
cautious, though. Too much daytime
shut-eye might only make it harder to
fall asleep at night.
Curb the caffeine.
A jolt of caffeine
might help your teen stay awake
during class, but the effects are
feeting - and too much caffeine can
interfere with a good night’s sleep.
Keep it calm.
Encourage your teen
to wind down at night with a warm
shower, a book or other relaxing
A teen’s internal clock
Everyone has an internal clock that
infuences body temperature, sleep
cycles, appetite and hormonal changes.
The biological and psychological
processes that follow the cycle of this 24-
hour internal clock are called circadian
rhythms. Before adolescence, these
circadian rhythms direct most children
to naturally fall asleep around 8 or 9 p.m.
But puberty changes a teen’s internal
clock, delaying the time he or she starts
feeling sleepy - often until 11 p.m. or
later. Staying up late to study or socialize
can disrupt a teen’s internal clock even
more.
Too little sleep
Most teens need about nine hours of
sleep a night - and sometimes more - to
maintain optimal daytime alertness.
But few teens actually get that much
sleep regularly, thanks to factors such
as part-time jobs, early-morning classes,
homework, extracurricular activities,
social demands, and use of computers
Teen
sleep
cycles
might seem
to come from
another world.
Understand why
teen sleep is a
challenge
and what
you can do to
promote
better
teen sleep.
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