Teens increasingly falling prey to sleep deprivation

Teens increasingly falling prey to sleep deprivation

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Most teens are sleep deprived. This is a well-known fact, and you don’t need any research study to tell you this. Teens have their own private lives and want to be in control, and the beginning can be harrowing as they find their feet. But lack of sleep can derail their academic performance, even if your child is smart and capable.

Reasons for the sleep deprivation are uncertain but according to lead author Katherine Keyes, a Columbia University public health researcher, factors accruing to reduced sleep may be mounting use of social media, smartphones and other electronics.

Kids who don’t get enough sleep are at risk for mood problems, depression, memory and learning difficulties and poor grades, said psychologist Daniel Lewin, a sleep specialist at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

He said about 40 per cent of U.S. high schools start classes before 8 a.m. — early morning hours that are teens’ ‘optimal sleep period.’

What you might not know is that school-aged children need 10-12 hours of sleep every night – not the commonly thought of 7-8 hours – but may be getting far less. But, as U.S. News reports, most parents are sleep deprived themselves and so think the symptoms of sleep deprivation are normal and thus fail to understand that their kids are not getting the required amount of sleep.

Parents need to look out for these symptoms to analyse if their kids are sleep deprived:

Signs that your child needs to sleep more

  • It takes great effort to wake them up in the morning
  • They take a mid-day nap
  • They are tired throughout the day
  • They make up for lost sleep over the weekends

If even one of these is true, your child may not be getting enough sleep. Here’s what you can do to get them back on track:

  1. Try and set a bedtime schedule so that your child gets used to it.
  2. Set it at an appropriate time so that your child gets at least 10-12 hours of sleep every night. Set an earlier bedtime if your child is going to bed late.
  3. Wake up your child at the same time regularly to set a rhythm.
  4. Create a bedtime routine to help your child fall asleep. This shouldn’t involve anything stimulating like access to a PC, smartphone or anything else that will keep them up.
  5. Avoid foods and drinks with sugar and caffeine.
  6. Make sure your child gets enough physical activity during the day. This will help them fall asleep more naturally.

Even after chalking out a schedule for your child, if he is facing difficulty in sleeping, then your child may be suffering from a sleeping disorder and you should seek for medical healthcare.

Here are some tips which will help you determine the same:

Time to visit a doctor
If any of these hold true for your child, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your family doctor or a paediatrician:

  • Your child wakes up frequently at night
  • Your child is excessively sleepy during the day, even if they’ve got the necessary hours of sleep at night
  • Your child has an unfounded fear or anxiety that revolves around going to sleep
  • Bedwetting that continues beyond the age of 7 years
  • Loud or disruptive snoring

Researchers emphasize that if teens are made to analyse how much sleep they require and what are the consequences if they fail to do so, can help them get rid of sleep deprivation. Teens sleeping habits can be corrected through public health efforts to raise awareness of sleep.

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