Sleep - it's free and really good for you!

October 2, 2017

 

Not too many of us really appreciate how important sleep is to us and what happens while we are sleeping.  Eighty - yes! eighty percent of our learning is accomplished through sleep. And the possible effects of lack of sleep in adolescence include obesity, depression, poor school performance and behavior problems including substance abuse.  The thing is, too, that with the onset of puberty a strange thing happens in the brain - the melatonin that occurs naturally to help get us sleepy is secreted later during adolescence than any other time in life.  So when our teens say they are not tired until later in the evening, that's why! And to make things even more complicated our teens need more sleep than when they were kids or will when they are adults - really over 9 hours of sleep a night is ideal. Early school starts and electronic usage are huge challenges for this age group, but there are things that can help and making some simple changes in routines are really worth it.  Probably the most helpful - but most difficult to achieve for this age group is to cut out the use of their electronics at least 30 minutes before bed; using an eye mask could help to keep things dark; work on a schedule based on the latest time to wake up and doing as much prep work for the morning in the evening; no caffeine in the evening and as consistent a bed time as possible are also beneficial.  The brain is working harder than ever during adolescence and the simple act of getting well rested is worth its weight in gold!

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