Sleep deprivation in teens can kill them! That’s a pretty powerful statement, right? Unfortunately, it’s all too true! According to a recent CDC study, there is a link between sleep disorders in teens and unintentional injuries that can lead to serious accidents and death. This study was conducted 50,370 high school students who responded to questions about sleep duration on an average school night. This is just too important not to talk about!
Sleep Deprivation & Disorders Could Kill Your Teen
As moms, we already know that lack of sleep causes a slow reaction time, a lowered capacity to pay close attention and of course a higher risk of falling asleep at the worst possible moment. The same rules apply for teens. Imagine a sleep deprived teen who drives a car! It is as if he is taking the keys of death. Driving drowsy is just as dangerous as driving drunk. Oddly, the same applies for a teen who over slept. The study suggests that oversleeping is a sign of a sleeping disorder, and the person can be impaired.
While the first result of the study did not surprise me at all, the fact that teens are just as much at risk for oversleeping was a surprise. A teen who did not sleep properly may be more likely to engage in dangerous behavior, including ignoring seat belt use rules, riding with a drunk driver, and drinking and driving! Even if they are making all the right choices and trying to be safe, a sleepy teen driver can still end up in an accident due to slower reflexes.
Hence: sleep deprived teen = a danger for himself and the people surrounding. As a mom of a teen boy who will be starting his driving lessons in few months, I am beyond concerned. How can I help my teen sleep better and get a good night sleep?
Sleep Tips for Teens!
Even if he is old enough to go to sleep by himself, I cannot help to monitor his sleeping habits.
I know it sounds weird to give an older teen a strict bedtime, but my son knows that the light are off at the same time every day. No matter what. Even as adults, it is important to have a regular bedtime schedule. There are exceptions during the holidays, etc., but we try to stick close to our routine.
Exercise every day
While it can be hard for some young adults to exercise on a daily. It is important to get as much exercise as they can. My teen commutes so he has around 30 minutes walk a day. It is not much, but it helps. He is also part of the school’s swim team. Make sure to find what your child likes and encourage him or her to exercise. When my son gets back from the swim’s team practice, he sleeps better.
Avoid caffeine and tobacco
I am grateful because my teen does not smoke, nor drink coffee. These 2 habits will impact his sleeping habits. I know it is challenging for parents to change some teen’s habits (hopefully your teen isn’t smoking, but many start drinking coffee in the teen years), but it’s worth the try.
Keep technology away
I have a motto at home: all the I’s (iPhone, iPad, iMac) are not used before bed. They are even stored outside my son’s bedroom for the night to avoid any temptations. Those screens and these technology devices will impact any person’s sleep (not teens only). It is best if they are not used before bed. Try to get him into reading an actual book (reading on a screen still impairs sleep because of the type of light it emits). It is a very relaxing activity.
While it is not always easy to get my teen to sleep properly, I do my best as a parent! The days I forget to monitor or follow one of these tips above, I notice a change in his behavior.