How Much Sleep Should a Teen Get?
Sometimes it’s hard to know where to draw the line with your teen. When do you let them get a cell phone? When should they have their own car? What time should curfew be on the weekends? Well, here’s one thing to take off your plate: letting them sleep in on a good mattress is not only ok, it’s recommended by sleep scientists.
That’s right, a good mattress might not be as cool as a car, but a good night’s sleep in what teens need most. Dr. Sarah Honaker, a pediatric sleep specialist at Riley Hospital for Children says, “There’s a clear biological change that happens during puberty that leads teenagers to want to fall asleep later and sleep later in the morning.” So what does this mean for parents? How do you support your teen in getting an ideal nights sleep?
Teens With Good Sleep Schedules Do Better in School
Allowing your teen good nights sleep on a good mattress isn’t just because you don’t want a moody morning. There can be some real consequences to not letting them sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics states potential risks of adolescent chronic sleep loss as behavior issues, learning problems, poor impulse control, and “academic challenges”. That means that an early riser could have trouble in math class that perhaps a well-rested teen wouldn’t.
What’s more is teens who are sleep deprived can suffer from anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide and even suicide attempts. It’s vital! Make sure your teen is getting enough sleep and that their sleep patterns are regular. You can do this by setting up good routines and making sure their room is dark and the right temperature. Also, it’s important that their mattress is comfortable.
So how much sleep should an average teen get? According to the National Sleep Foundation, scientists think that the developing adolescent body can need between nine and eleven hours of mattress time. That’s almost two hours more than an adult! What does this mean for you? Encourage your teen to sleep.
Pushing Back the Start of School
Recently, sleep scientists have been urging schools to push back their start times to accommodate teen sleep schedules. The results have been mixed, and the pushback has been surprisingly great. In 2014, a group of sleep scientists recommended that middle and high schools delay the start of school to 8:30 a.m. or later. Research showed that delays in start times allowed for more school-night sleep could improve attendance and enhanced academic performance. Some schools have adopted these policies, but many are dragging their feet when it comes to it, mainly because of the complexity of changing bus schedules, after-school activities, and parent push back.
Overall, it’s important to keep in mind that your teen (as big as they seem) is still growing. They have a lot of physical and emotional development left to do. So help them be in control of this. Make sure they are getting exercise so they sleep better. See that they are not eating too late at night and are staying away from sugars. Help them find a relaxing bedtime routine that doesn’t involve technology. All of these suggestions are things your teen can control, even if they can’t control the time school starts.
Lastly, check out this post on “Tips for Getting Kids Ready for School by Setting Their Sleep Schedules Now” and come up with a good plan for you and your teen.