Cochrane, Alberta (July 20, 2011) - How much sleep does your teenage son or daughter really need? According to the American Sleep Disorder Association, the average teenager needs around 9.5 hours of sleep per night. Yet, studies show that the average teenager only gets an average of 7.4 hours per night.
What does this lack of sleep mean? According to research supported by the National Sleep Foundation, teenagers put themselves at risk if they do not get the recommended 9.5 hours of sleep a night. Listed below are just a few of the risk that your teenager may face if they are sleep deprived.
1) There is an increased risk of injury or accident, particularly when driving.
2) They tend to get lower grades and poorer school performance.
3) They tend to be more emotional or have more behavioral problems, such as negative moods.
4) There is an increased use of stimulants (particularly caffeine and nicotine).
5) There is a tendency towards increased use of alcohol use and/or use of similar substances
You now know the risks, but what are the signs? According to the National Sleep Foundation, the following behavioral traits may be a sign that your teen is lacking sleep.
1) They have difficulty waking up in the morning.
2) They show signs of being very irritable late in the day.
3) They are falling asleep spontaneously during quiet times of the day.
4) They are sleeping for extra hours on the weekends.
If you think that your son or daughter is lacking sleep, what is the cure? According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the following advice could lead to better sleep for your teenager.
1) Get them to stick to a sleep schedule that includes 9.5 hours a night (weekends included).
2) Have them avoid the use of caffeine (and nicotine) late in the afternoon and early evenings.
3) Have them avoid large meals and beverages late at night.
4) Get them to relax before bed by listening to soft music or reading a book.
5) Get them to take a hot bath before bed as this will help relax them.
6) Provide them with a good sleeping environment.
7) Have the right amount of sunlight exposure entering their bedroom.
As always, if you or your teen has questions or concerns about his or her sleep, please contact your doctor or other health care provider.
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Teens And Sleep: What parents need to know: http://teenhealth.about.com/od/physicalhealth/a/teensleep.htm
Teenagers and Sleep: http://parentingteens.about.com/cs/teensandsleep/a/teenssleepwell.htm