Teen Sleep article- Review

Review of article: ‘Teen sleep: Why is your teen so tired?’– Mayo Clinic

A good introduction to the problem of adolescent sleep problems, although this article speaks of ‘teens’ where ‘adolescence’ can sometimes mean from 10 to 23 years old.

“puberty changes a teen’s internal clock, delaying the time he or she starts feeling sleepy — often until 11 p.m. or later. Staying up late to study or socialize can disrupt a teen’s internal clock even more”

Interestingly, it is stated that over 90% of teens sleeps less than recommended. This would mean almost all teenagers are sleep deprived! Or is the recommended amount of sleep too high? The effects of sleeping less not as bad as suggested? A lot of questions form already. Of course this is not an academic publication, and I will read more on these subjects later. But now I am definitively curious.

The article ends with some rather cheesy tips on sleep hygiene. All of it is true, most of it you know, and none of this you want to hear from your parents when you are a teenager. “Expose your teen to bright light”? A teenager is not a precious plant that you are growing. But for laughs, here it is:

  • Adjust the lighting. As bedtime approaches, dim the lights. Then turn off the lights during sleep. In the morning, expose your teen to bright light. These simple cues can help signal when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up.
  • Stick to a schedule. Tough as it may be, encourage your teen to go to bed and get up at the same time every day — even on weekends. Prioritize extracurricular activities and curb late-night social time as needed. If your teen has a job, limit working hours to no more than 16 to 20 hours a week.
  • Nix long naps. If your teen is drowsy during the day, a 30-minute nap after school might be refreshing. Be cautious, though. Too much daytime shut-eye might only make it harder to fall asleep at night.
  • Curb the caffeine. A jolt of caffeine might help your teen stay awake during class, but the effects are fleeting — and too much caffeine can interfere with a good night’s sleep.
  • Keep it calm. Encourage your teen to wind down at night with a warm shower, a book or other relaxing activities. Discourage stimulating activities — including vigorous exercise, loud music, video games, television, computer use and text messaging — an hour or two before bedtime.
  • Know when to unplug. Take the TV out of your teen’s room, or keep it off at night. The same goes for your teen’s cellphone, computer and other electronic gadgets.

For more literature on sleep, see this post.

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