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Is Your Teen Getting Enough Sleep?

Sleepy Boy in School

Is your teen getting enough sleep? Unless he or she is one of the 8% of teens who gets between 8 1/2 and 9 1/4 hours of sleep a night, the answer is no.

This topic occupies a bit of my mental energy from time to time. It must occupy that of others too, as I notice the presence of sleep studies as well as local governments continuing to grapple with the idea of later school starts for our teens. It’s only natural. It’s only natural to be concerned with what is becoming a societal epidemic: sleep-deprived teens.

And, it’s only natural that our teens are sleep-deprived. After the onset of puberty, the same kids who naturally became drowsy at 8 or 9 o’clock at night are now awake……until their naturally-produced melatonin sleep hormone is released around 11 pm. Their circadian rhythms change after adolescence. They don’t become drowsy until later in the evening now, after that melatonin releases. Throw in the early bus stop, and you’ve got a sleep-deprived kid. (Not to mention the mix of academia and extra-curricular activities.)

As parents, our middle-age circadian rhythms change too. Our melatonin releases earlier now than in our younger days. Now that makes for a sleepy mom and a wide-awake teen. Not the greatest combination.

There’s much to talk about and much to consider with this sleep-deprived teen topic. What is happening in your house — and within your schools — and with the teens you see at the sleepy bus stop? This is the first of more blogs to come on this topic.

Before signing off, I leave you with this Washington Post article: Sleep Deprivation & Teens: Walking Zombies.  The statistics will certainly wake you up and leave you bushy-tailed.

Until then…..gotta go…..my melatonin’s kicking in . . .

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