Can Extra Sleep Improve Your Teen’s Health?

Sufficient sleep is an important part of everyone’s health, even your teenagers. Teens have a busy lifestyle, some with a jam-packed schedule of school, social and extracurricular activities that overrules an adult’s usual day. What you don’t know about your child’s sleeping cycle can translate into their performance at school as well as other health defects.

A recent study published in the Journal of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics reported that later school start times improve teenagers’ sleep and reduced their daytime sleepiness. Later start time was associated with a 29-minute increase in students’ sleep on school nights, and those who achieved eight or more hours of sleep increased from 18 percent to 44 percent. Daytime drowsiness, depressed mood and caffeine use were significantly reduced after the delay in school start time.

In terms of sleep disorders, everyone can be affected by them, no matter what age. Often getting to bed an hour earlier can resolve sleeping issues and make you more alert and productive the next day, but disturbed sleep from snoring and sleep apnea, GERD and restless legs syndrome are the most common causes of sleep issues.

In fact some students who do not suffer from sleep apnea have been likely to have higher blood pressure after a bad night’s sleep. A recent study from the Chinese University of Hong Kong reported that just one less hour of sleep per night led to an increase of two millimeters of mercury in systolic blood pressure. Research of the 143 child participants also noted that one less hour of sleep led to a one millimeter rise in diastolic blood pressure. Bottom line was that the less sleep children got, the higher the blood pressure was the following day.

The National Sleep Foundation reports that lack of sleep in teens can lead to a number of health and performance issues including:

  • Difficulty concentrating, problem-solving, learning and remembering information
  • Problems with skin and acne
  • Increased aggression and inappropriate behavior
  • Likelihood of eating unhealthy foods and weight gain
  • Increased risk of nicotine, caffeine and alcohol use

Solution to Make Up for Lost Sleep
Being healthy does not stop at having regular exercise and eating right, getting the appropriate amount of sleep should be routine among growing teens. To encourage better sleep for your teen, start enforcing a consistent bedtime to help your child wind down. This should include limiting or removing cell phone use, social media and watching TV before bed. Keep the schedule similar on weekends and school nights to ensure their sleep cycle does not get thrown off.
Sleep is not an option for teens, or anyone for that matter. If you feel that your teen is struggling in school from sleep apnea or showing signs of sleep disorders, contact us to see Dr. Shukla to determine the condition of your teen as well as compose a sleep strategy to help achieve quality sleep.

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