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 The Importance of Sleep For Teens

Transcript

The Importance of Sleep For Teens

Connie Schnoes, Ph.D.
​Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health

​​Teenagers need more sleep then they or their parents probably realize. Current recommendation is nine hours a night. There are a couple of reasons it's difficult for teenagers to get the amount of sleep they need.  Part of it is just the life of a teenager and school and how we structure activities. They are involved in so many things.

Their sleep cycle changes. Their circuiting rhythm shifts as you hit adolescence and you don't actually feel tired until 11pm at night and to be up and at school by 7:30 or 8 in the morning, there's not a 9 hour window for sleep there.

How does lack of sleep affect school work?

Our brains are very busy working while we are sleeping and they are processing all of the information we took in during the day. Whether that's verbal or written or motor information, you need sleep for the brain to go through that and consolidate that and help you be able to recall the information you need the next day and to perform at a better level the next day.

Does sleep impact behavior or social development?

Adolescents tend to be more like adults. If they are sleep deprived, they're going to slow down and be tired. It can have an impact on their mood. So they might be more irritable, more agitated, less tolerant and patient. Friends probably don't appreciate that so much so it will have an impact on relationships. It can also cause their moods to be more sad and depressed.

How can parents help their teen get the right amount of sleep?

​Just really working to have them engage in behaviors that will help them with falling asleep as opposed to not. It is not uncommon for kids to watch TV in bed, be on their computers or laptops or IPads in bed, read in bed, do homework there. All of that should not be done in bed.

Do you find your teenager up all night finishing homework or still in bed around noon on Saturdays? Connie Schnoes, Ph.D., Child and Adolescent Psychologist at Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health, discusses the importance of sleep for teenagers and the effects that sleep has on academics, and behavior and social development.

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