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Shh! Don’t Tell Your Teen, But Sleeping More Is Good For Them

teenThe adolescent life is far from easy breezy. Juggling school, homework, sports, a social life, extracurricular activities, body image, personal relationships, multiple social media accounts, and possibly even a part-time job is bound to take a toll on a young person, both mentally and physically. When you add the scientific factor into the equation – raging hormones – it is safe to assume that adolescents’ sleep health is not optimal. Since this is such a critical growth period – mentally, physically, and emotionally – adequate sleep is a pretty big deal, even though teenagers will often argue that they don’t need that much sleep.

Pounds vs. Pillow

A recent study performed among teenagers showed that those who slept less than 8 hours a night and didn’t recover the lost hours of sleep throughout the day, had an increased risk of obesity. Ideally, your teen should go to bed at a decent hour during the week since they must wake up early for school five days a week. On the weekends, however, it is safe to assume that your teen is going to bed later, so it is perfectly acceptable for them to sleep later as well. Drastic changes between minimal sleep and excessive sleep are what negatively affect the metabolism and lead to weight problems.

Sleep is Like a Daily Vitamin

When the body is not allowed ample recovery time from daily activities, the immune system begins to fail. Thus, teenagers who don’t obtain enough sleep are at higher risk of contracting illnesses and diseases. Over time, continuous lack of sleep leads to the appearance of aggressive behavior and the adoption of unhealthy habits – overeating, poor food choices, alcohol abuse, and drug addiction.

The Bedroom-Classroom Relationship

An obvious downfall of inadequate sleep patterns for teenagers is the effect on school performance, both in and out of the classroom. In fact, recent studies have identified a link between lack of sleep and the development of depression or ADHD in adolescents. According to doctors, a teenager should sleep between 8 ½ and 9 ¼ hours per night, which is more than the average number of hours for adults.

Sleep for Safety

Regardless of whether they are strictly pedestrians or also drivers, if they do not sleep enough, teenagers are more prone to accidents. Driving while tired leads to reduced reflexes and poor judgment. The same applies to those on foot – lack of concentration, inability to calculate distances, and slow response time – all of which can trigger accidents.

Tips for Tired Teens

In order to establish a healthy sleep routine for your teenager, considering the following do’s and don’ts:

  • Do not allow brain stimulation in the evenings. This means no television, no computer, no iPad, no video games, and no cell phone right before bedtime.
  • Do allow your teen to sleep in on the weekends, but sleeping all day is not acceptable.
  • Do not allow your adolescent child to eat junk food close to bedtime. If they are hungry, however, choose healthy sleep-inducing items like whole grains, yogurt, and jasmine rice.
  • Do as you preach, which means it is your responsibility as a parent to set a good example and practice the same habits.
  • Do not allow your teenager to consume caffeinated beverages past the afternoon. Energy drinks should be avoided all together.
  • Help your teen identify enjoyable and relaxing activities to do before bedtime, such as reading, meditating, yoga, listening to calming music, painting, taking a leisurely walk, and playing chess.

Written by: Kaity Nakagoshi, Online Community Director & Web Content Manager

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About the Author

This guest post was written by Kaity Nakagoshi, the Online Community Director for Zelen Communications and the Web Content Manager for a physician services directory in Florida. Kaity graduated from the University of South Florida and enjoys writing, tweeting, online shopping, and golf. Some of her favorite healthy things are hot yoga, iced green tea with a drizzle of agave, and homemade flourless banana muffins.

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