Bedtime is always a struggle for growing kids who don't want to miss out on play. However, sleep is an important part of life, even for our little ones--and missing out on valuable Zzz's has a great impact in their overall health.
Sleep is when our bodies recharge and our mind processes what transpired during the day. It's ironic that the older we get, the more time we need for sleep, but the less time we allot time for shuteye—and that starts as early as the teenage years. You can say that at that age, most kids stay up late because of school (and maybe the occasional night-out celebrations with family and friends). However, the lack of sleep greatly hinders their school performance.
A new study published in the Journal of Sleep found that the less adolescents sleep, the worse their grades. Researchers analyzed the grade point averages (GPAs) of more than 7,700 teenagers ages 16 to 19 from Norway, and found that those who slept between 10 and 11 p.m. had the best grades. They found that going to be much later than 11 p.m. is associate with lower GPA.
"Our findings suggests that going to bed earlier, and encouraging similar bed- and sleeping times during the week, are important for academic performance," says psychology specialist and lead author Mari Hysing at Uni Research in Bergen, Norway. The need to understand the value of sleep in relation to academic performance, one of the important factors in work or career success and health, is crucial, she added.
Hysing poses that the main culprit is screen time right before bedtime. Using any device in the hour before bed was associated with extending the waking hours for another hour. Several studies recently have showed that the more frequently young people use these media devices, the greater the chance their sleep will be disturbed, according to Michael Gradisar, a clinical psychologist and sleep researcher at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia.
Here are some tips to help your teen still get enough sleep:
1. Avoid eating and drinking before bedtime. What you eat or drink before bed can have a serious impact on your sleep quality. Stick to a warm glass of milk and definitely avoid coffee or tea or food high in fat. If you must grab a bite, stick to small portions. 2. Exercise in the morning, not before going to bed. Exercising raises the core body temperature, increases the heart rate, and stimulates the body--all three of which are not good if you're trying to sleep. If you must get a sweat in the evening, do it at least two hours before bedtime.
3. No TV, computer and/or smartphone an hour before bedtime. If you want to invite a snooze, pick up a book instead of scrolling through Facebook. The light that the screen emits is not only tiresome for the eyes, it will also keep you wide awake.
4. Keep a regular bedtime routine. It's not just for kids. Keeping a regular bedtime schedule can be the key to having enough sleep. Teens also need about eight to 10 hours of sleep each night to function well. Making the room sleep-friendly also helps, too.
This is not the first time quality and quantity of sleep had been proven to affect kids greatly. A 2015 study showed that disrupted sleep could harm children's memory processes. An irregular bedtime schedule also results in the poor cognitive development of children, according to another study. As it turns out, enough sleep and regular sleeping schedules also highly benefits high school kids.