Teens And Sleep
At age 17, Alex Noel was involved in a drowsy driving car accident that left him partially paralyzed for several months. He and his mom open up about the accident and discuss the ways in which young people are prone to exhaustion and drowsy driving accidents.
If you're a parent, you know that lack of sleep can make your teen grouchy and distracted, irritable and low energy. Did you know that insufficient sleep also puts teenagers at greater risk for injury?
We all know that young minds are impressionable. But apparently impressions only stick after some deep REM sleep. New evidence suggests that the largely unknown, reparative stage is critical for brain development, as that's when a child's experiences are transformed into memories and abilities.
"I think children aren't getting enough sleep. I think our lives have become hectic, our commutes longer, our working hours
The assumption is that the teenagers are falling asleep because they are bored or disinterested in the class. Was elementary school more exciting than high school? No, that is not the reason. It is a misconception that boredom causes sleepiness. Boredom just unmasks sleep deprivation.
Biological changes are an important part of the teen-sleep picture, but they don't tell the whole story. Combined with these biological shifts are environmental and lifestyle factors that also can interfere with teens' sleep.
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Researchers found that opting to delay bedtime in favor of studying was linked to an increased risk of both types of academic difficulty. And this was true regardless of the total amount of students' study time.
It's a mantra from physicians, sleep experts and other health professionals we've come to expect: Teenagers are short on sleep.
Our hope is that by understanding the scientific record and context beyond these two recent splashes in the literature, the pediatric sleep community's service to parents and health professionals can be restored.