Monday, November 8, 2010

Tired Teens

Many parents of teenagers will attest that they’ve caught their teen texting in the middle of the night. Many teens are exhausted in the morning from lack of restorative sleep. It’s a domino effect….lack of sleep can make them crabby, argumentative, have difficulty paying attention in class and have a general lack of energy.

In a study of 40 teens who sought treatment at the JFK Medical Center Sleep Lab, 77% of them stated they had difficulty falling asleep. Using computers, cell phones, video games or television all the way up to bedtime causes the brain to still be stimulated. In fact, after lights out they all confessed that they were sending an average of 34 text messages or emails during the night or using some type of electronic media.

Sleep gives your body a chance to organize all that it took in during the day. Melatonin is released during sleep which in turn helps keep our circadian rhythm in tune. Sleep additionally gives your body a time to rejuvenate and rest.

Teens need about 9 hours of sleep on school days. Being tired affects a teen’s school performance as it affects their cognitive skills. For teens that drive, many blame sleep deprivation as the main cause of their car accidents.

Help your teen get the rest they need by getting all electronic devices out of the bedroom. Establish a policy that all cell phones are left on the kitchen counter at night. Encourage your teen to set a bedtime routine. Reading, having a late night snack or taking a shower helps them to establish a pattern they will associate with sleep. They may find it a little easier to get up in the morning and not needing energy drinks to get through the day.

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