Tips to Helping Your Teen Get Enough Zzzzzs

SATURDAY, Sept. 18, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- It's no wonder many teens are pooped out.

"The obligations of school, work, family and friends make it hard for teenagers to get sufficient sleep to perform their best," said Dr. Raman Malhotra, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). "While it might seem like teens sleep a lot, most are sleep deprived and trying to catch up on the weekends."

Close to 8 in 10 high school students don't get enough sleep on an average school night, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The academy says 13- to 18-year-olds need eight to 10 hours per night.

One obstacle is that teens' body clocks trigger sleepiness later at night and wakefulness later in the morning, making it harder to get up early for school. That's why the AASM says middle and high schools should not start before 8:30 a.m.

"Adjusting school start times to better align with teens' circadian rhythms is a positive step toward improving student achievement, health and safety," Malhotra said in an academy news release. "Later school start times are associated with longer total sleep time, reduced daytime sleepiness, increased classroom engagement, and reduced tardiness and absences."

While students can't control school start times, they can follow these tips for better sleep:

  • Get physical activity every day. Avoid caffeine after school.

  • Limit naps to 30 minutes or less and don't nap after 4 p.m.

  • Have meals at the same time every day and don't eat too close to bedtime.

  • Keep lights dim at night.

  • Put away electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.

  • Take time to relax and unwind before going to bed.

  • Set a bedtime that will let you sleep at least eight hours.

  • Get bright light in the morning.

  • Stick to your sleep schedule as best you can on weekends.

More information

For more on getting a good night's sleep, visit the Sleep Foundation.

SOURCE: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, news release, Sept. 15, 2021

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