Young People Need to Get the Right Amount of Sleep
Getting the right amount of sleep makes a big difference in the performance of Alsion Montessori middle school students.
The results of many studies lead to an unmistakeable conclusion: A lack of sleep is taking a toll on the lives of our young people. Consider the findings of studies conducted in the last 10 years and information provided by Stanford University’s Sleep Disorder Clinic:
- Lack of sleep, meaning fewer than eight hours a night, was tied to emotional well-being as well as performance in the classroom. Sleep-deprived students 13 to 16 years of age suffer from anxiety, depression, and even thoughts of suicide.
- Rising early has a markedly different effect on teens than adults, researchers find. Because they have longer sleep cycles than adults, teens awakened for classes that begin earlier than 8 a.m. had trouble concentrating in class.
- Doctors suggest school-age students 13 to 16 years of age get 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night. Once they resume a healthy level of sleep, a student’s mental state and academic performance rebounds.
The temptation of the internet is another factor. In the evening, when teens should be preparing for a good night’s sleep, constant texts, videos, emails, and social media interactions provide too much stimulation.
Another overlooked factor in spending late hours online: Viewing the glowing screen of a smartphone, laptop or desktop monitor arouses the brain and makes it harder to drift off to sleep.
Helping Your Child Adopt Better Sleep Habits
- Prioritize sleep. Enforce age-appropriate bedtimes without fail. A third-grader who needs to wake up at 6:30 a.m. should have an 8:30 p.m. bedtime. Don’t accommodate changes to bedtime, such as allowing a late snack.
- Ease into sleep time. A relaxing evening routine prepares a child for bed. Encourage children to wind down by reading, or taking a bath. Begin turning off lights and avoid stressful or physical activities in the evening.
- Stick to a schedule. Maintain regular bedtimes even on weekends. “Catching up” on sleep by napping typically disrupts nighttime sleep.