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Teen Sleep Disorders: How to Help Your Teen Sleep

Posted Mar 03 2009 2:19pm

Becca is a 16 year-old from West Palm Beach, FL. She loves to cook and travel, and she would like to study International Business in the future.

My name is Becca, and I have a fifteen-hour weekly sleep deficit. I, like most other teenagers, average six and a quarter hours of sleep on weekdays. A teenager should really get between nine and nine and a half hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately, daily routine doesn’t usually agree with our biological clocks. Most teenagers’ wake-sleep cycle is set in a way that doesn’t allow them to get tired before 10 or 11 o’clock at night. If they have to get up at 6 or even 7 in the morning, they still aren’t getting nearly enough sleep. This lack of sleep is clearly harmful to each individual, but it can also pose a danger for society. Nearly 100,000 car accidents are caused by drowsy driving each year, and teens are responsible for half of these crashes. Parents oftentimes have a hard time understanding teens’ sleep cycle because their biological clocks are set in a way that makes them both go to sleep and wake up earlier. It’s important for them too remember that teenagers are simply programmed differently. Sleep deprivation doesn’t have an easy answer, but parents can help maximize the amount of sleep that their kids get by encouraging the following:

1. Establish a routine-

Irregular sleeping patterns can confuse the body. Sleeping into the afternoon on weekends can even trick the body into believing that it will get more sleep during the week, making your morning routines more unbearable than usual. The more constant you keep your bedtime, the easier it should be to wake up.

2. Drink less caffeine-

Scientists say that even one cup of coffee in the afternoon can be enough to keep you awake later than you want. Becoming caffeine dependent isn’t the healthiest way to wake up every morning either.

3. Have some down time before bed-

Down time shouldn’t consist of watching tv or playing video games, though. These activities can cause brain stimulation and make it harder to go to sleep. Instead, take a hot shower to help yourself wind down.

4. Pay attention to light-

First, don’t expose yourself to bright light before you go to sleep. This may confuse your body’s internal clock. Also, try to get out into sunlight as soon as you can to help yourself wake up easier in the morning.

5. Exercise-

Not only will exercise keep you healthy- it will also help you sleep better. Your body feels the need to recharge even more so after you perform physical activity. Try to get at least half an hour of exercise each day.

Any combination of school, work, electronics, and other variables may lead to a teenager’s sleep deprivation. However, a sufficient amount of sleep is necessary to succeed in all areas of life. If you try to decrease your sleep deficit, you should be a happier and more productive person overall.

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Teen Sleep Disorders: How to Help Your Teen Sleep

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