issues related to teens
How Much Sleep Do I Need?
Most teens need about 8˝ to more than 9 hours of sleep each night. The right amount of sleep is essential for anyone who wants to do well on a test or play sports without tripping over their feet. Unfortunately, though, many teens don't get enough sleep.
Until recently, teens were often given a bad rap for staying up late,
oversleeping for school, and falling asleep in class. But recent studies
show that adolescent sleep patterns actually differ from those of adults or
Why Is Sleep Important?
This sleep deficit impacts everything from a person's ability to pay
attention in class to his or her mood. According to the National Sleep
Foundation’s 2006 Sleep in America poll, more than one quarter of high
school students fall asleep in class, and experts have been able to tie lost
sleep to poorer grades. Lack of sleep also damages teens' ability to do
their best in athletics.
Even if you think you're getting enough sleep, you may not be. Here are some
of the signs that you may need more sleep:
- Inability to concentrate.
- Falling asleep during classes.
- Feelings of moodiness and even
How Can I Get More Sleep?
Recently, some researchers, parents, and teachers have suggested that
middle- and high-school classes begin later in the morning to accommodate
teens' need for more sleep. Some schools have already implemented later
start times. You and your friends, parents, and teachers can lobby for later
start times at your school, but in the meantime you'll have to make your own
Going to bed at the same time each night signals to your body that it's time to sleep. Waking up at the same time every day can also help establish sleep patterns. So try to stick as closely as you can to your sleep schedule even on weekends. Don't go to sleep more than an hour later or wake up more than 2 to 3 hours later than you do during the week.
Try not to exercise right before bed, though, as it can rev you up and make it harder to fall asleep. Finish exercising at least three hours before bedtime. Many sleep experts believe that exercising in late afternoon may actually help a person sleep.
Don't drink beverages with caffeine, such as soda and coffee, after 4 PM. Nicotine is also a stimulant, so quitting smoking may help you sleep better. And drinking alcohol in the evening can also cause a person to be restless and wake up during the night.
Avoid violent, scary, or action movies
or television shows right before bed — anything that might set your mind and
heart racing. Reading books with involved or active plots may also keep you
from falling or staying asleep.
Unwind by keeping the lights low
Light signals the brain that it's time to wake up. Staying away from bright lights (including computer screens!), as well as meditating or listening to soothing music, can help your body relax. Try to avoid TV, computer and telephone at least one hour before you go to bed.
Naps of more than 30 minutes during the day may keep you from falling asleep later.
Don't wait until the night before a big test to study. Cutting back on sleep the night before a test may mean you perform worse than you would if you'd studied less but got more sleep.
Studies show that people sleep best in a dark room that is slightly on the cool side. Close your blinds or curtains (and make sure they're heavy enough to block out light) and turn down the thermostat in your room (pile on extra blankets or wear PJs if you're cold). Lots of noise can be a sleep turnoff, too.
Bright light in the morning signals to your body that it's time to get going.
Courtesy: Mary L. Gavin