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The Importance of Teenagers Sleeping

By Randi Morse

I am fortunate enough to have two teenage children, and one of the first things I learned about teenagers is that they are almost exactly like toddlers. How are teenagers and toddlers similar? Teens and toddlers both think that they're right about everything, and both think that they don't need any help to do anything. Another thing that teenagers and toddlers share? Their requirement for extra sleep.

Teens and Sleep

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that 41 percent of Americans get less than six hours of sleep a night, and that teenagers get even less. The problem is that teens actually need more sleep than adults. Teenagers' brains are learning at a rapid rate, and in order to retain this information their brains need to have quality sleep at night. Experts say that teenagers should get at least nine hours of sleep per night, but the majority don't get that. 

Sleep and Mental Health

Research has shown that there is a very clear link between the depression and anxiety in teenagers and sleep deprivation. One study done included about 28,000 high school students. The researchers discovered that every time a student lost an hour of sleep they were 38 percent more likely to feel sad and hopeless, and there was a 58 percent increase in suicide attempts. Teens are already emotional creatures, and a lack of sleep also impacts their emotional regulation circuit, causing them to show more emotion when they were presented with stressors.

Sleep and Substance Abuse

A lack of sleep has also been found to increase the likelihood of a teenager abusing drugs and alcohol. In 2015 one study discovered that the amount of sleep, and sleep problems, can be directly connected to dangerous behaviors, like binge drinking and drunk driving.

Getting Better Sleep

Any parent of teenagers know that it's really difficult to get them to go to bed, just as it's difficult to get a toddler to go to sleep when they don't want to. Encourage your teenagers to have a regular routine, and don't worry if they sleep in on the weekends, it's likely just their body's way of catching up on the sleep they need. Midday naps is not a bad thing, so don't worry if they nap for a half an hour or so after they get out of school. Above all, showcase healthy sleep behaviors yourself.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Draper, Utah.

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