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Teens and Sleep Hygiene

Posted on Aug 13, 2018

Jasmine Reese, M.D.
Jasmine Reese, M.D.
After a fun summer break of staying up late and sleeping in, it’s time for school again. Getting back to a good routine sleep schedule might be challenging, especially for our teens. Jasmine Reese, M.D., from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, shares some helpful tips.

How much sleep do teens actually need?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, teens ages 13 to 18 years old need 8 to 10 hours of sleep routinely in order to promote optimal heath. According to national statistics, only about 25 percent of high school students are actually getting the recommended eight or more hours of sleep each night. That means most of our teens are not getting the required sleep their bodies and minds need.

Why is sufficient sleep so important?

Sleep is such an important part of all of our daily lives. You should think of it as being just as important as food and water for your overall health. While you are sleeping, your brain actually stays pretty active in filtering out toxins, forming neuronal connections, and maintaining pathways you need to learn and make new memories. If you have a history of chronic sleep deprivation, and don’t get the required amount of sleep your body needs, you actually have a higher risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and even depression.

Which teen-related activities can be affected?

When thinking about teen drivers, it is important to make sure you are fully rested. For example, a teen who stays up all night watching movies, talking on the phone or gaming has been compared to having a driving ability similar to that of a severely intoxicated drunken driver. For teen athletes, getting good sleep allows you to have better focus, reaction time, physical growth and allows your body to recover from injuries and/or vigorous exercise.

What are some helpful “sleep hygiene” practices?

  • Routine sleep schedule, even on the weekends
  • Avoid bright lights and screen time right before bed time
  • Meditate or listen to soothing music before bed
  • Drink caffeine late in the day
  • Exercise right before bed
  • Nap for more than 30 minutes during the day
This information was shared on WTVT-TV’s Doc on Call segment, which is aimed at helping parents learn more about children’s health issues. The segment airs each Monday morning on Good Day Tampa Bay.

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