Break bad sleep habits as teenagers head back to school

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© Psy330W10 – Wikimedia Commons

AS children head off back to school in September after the long, hot summer, there are a number of tips to bear in mind to help them get back into the routine before they start back.

Of course the most difficult adjustment is always sleep, especially for teenagers, since they often have a lot more late nights and lie-ins during the summer holidays. 

Researchers at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital have found that “a lack of sleep can cause poor academic performance due to poor concentration, behavioural issues due to irritability, physical symptoms like fatigue and headaches, or mental issues like depression.”

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To deal with this, doctors suggest gradually adjusting bedtime and wake-up times by 30 minutes every two to three days over a couple of weeks. 

It may be hard to enforce, but do not let them sleep in late on weekends. It is recommended that sleep times should remain within a two hour time frame so that they remain consistent.

Teenagers need between 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep but often go to bed after 11pm so as a strategy try to schedule activities early enough for them to finish earlier and have some wind down time.

As light from smartphones and other electronics can interfere with the body’s melatonin production during sleep, they should not be used in the hour before bedtime. That means ban them from the bedroom!

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