Did you know that a lack of sleep in teenagers is linked to:
• high blood pressure
• heart disease
• Type 2 diabetes
• sexual activities
• car accidents
• poor school performance
• mental health issues
• risk-taking behavior
• substance abuse
• binge drinking
• social inhibition
• sedentary behavior
• low socioeconomic status
The CDC reports that the recommended amount of sleep for teens is nine to ten hours. A recent study found that 60% of high schoolers report they do not get over seven hours. The majority of high school teens are falling at least two hours short! This shortfall results in a
• 47% greater likelihood to binge drink
• 80% greater likelihood to have regretted sexual activity
What can parents do?
1. Do what you can. Increasing sleep just one hour results in a ten percent improvement in most of the consequences.
2. Make adequate sleep a condition to drive. If your teen doesn’t get enough sleep, take their keys. You wouldn’t let them drive drunk. Why would you let them drive drowsy?
3. Remove electronics (televisions, cell phones, video games, tablets, computers, etc.) from the bedroom. Some studies show that the light of a screen makes us think it is daytime and makes it difficult to sleep. Many studies show that incoming texts and social media posts interrupt teen sleep. Other show that these items just keep teens awake longer due to their participation.
4. Regulate caffeine consumption. Energy drinks and specialty coffee drinks can have as much caffeine as ten cups of coffee!
5. Set a bedtime. Studies show that teens with a set bedtime have a much more positive sleep pattern.
6. Establish a quiet time of one hour before bedtime. Teens who do not use electronic devices or do school work an hour before bedtime got more sleep.
7. Set a good example. The CDC says adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Model the suggestions above in your own life.
Brody, J. (2014, October 21). Hard Lesson in Sleep for Teenagers. The New York Times, p. D5.
CDC. (2013). How Much Sleep Do I Need? Retrieved from Sleep and Sleep Disorders: http://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.htm
Keyes, K., Maslowsky, j., Hamilton, A., & Schulenberg, J. (2015, March). The Great Sleep Recession: Changes in Sleep Duration Among US Adolescents, 1991-2012. PEDIATRICS, 460-468. doi:10.1542/peds.2014-2707
National Seep Foundation. (2006). Sleep in America Poll – Summary of Findings. Retrieved from Teens and Sleep: http://sleepfoundation.org/sites/default/files/2006_summary_of_findings.pdf
Wong, M., Robertson, G., & Dyson, R. (2015, February 16). Prospective Relationship Between Poor Sleep and Substance-Related Problems in a National Sample of Adolescents. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 335-362.