No group of people is feeling the brunt of the sleep loss epidemic more than teenagers. Doctors suggest that kids in their teens get up between 9 and 10 hours of sleep every night, and the physical and mental development that takes place during those years makes the sleep that much more important. But most teens struggle to get even 7 hours, leaving them fatigued and feeling the pain of sleep debt.
Part of the struggle to get enough sleep, according to some doctors, is that many schools around the country start before 8 and interrupt the hours that most teens get their most restful sleep. But it can’t all be blamed on scheduling. Their growing dependence on technology leaves them at risk to lose sleep. For a more in-depth analysis on the effects technology can have on sleep, read our blog here.
For teens, the loss of those two or three hours can have a huge impact. The more sleep deprived a person is, the harder it is for their brain to make the transition between sleeping and waking. This can lead to trouble concentrating and retaining information, and has a negative impact on grades. The sleep deprived brain also produces higher levels of cortisol, which can lead to irrational and aggressive behavior. There is also a higher risk for becoming addicted to substances like caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol. Physically, sleep deprivation can have a serious impact on appetite, can cause acne breakouts, and negatively affect performance in sports or mental pursuits.
It is important that teens be allowed to get as much sleep as possible, and one of the keys to doing this is to avoid use of electronics before bed. Allow for at least 15 minutes of time for your brain to wind down before trying to sleep.
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