Lack of Sleep and Injuries Are Related in Teens

sleeping_teen_student_800x600According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high school students who get too little sleep are also more likely to drive drunk or take other risks. Scientists could not say whether the lack of sleep caused teens to take risks, the risk-taking caused sleep disruptions, or both were just a reflection of depression or other problems. Regardless of the cause, the link between sleep and injury-causing risks was significant.

Researchers have already proven that teens who are not getting enough sleep are more likely not to exercise and to be engaged in unhealthy behavior with drugs, alcohol or tobacco. They’re also more likely to be overweight, depressed and perform poorly in school.

Students who get only 5-6 hours of sleep each night were twice as likely to say they’d driven while drinking in the previous month, compared to kids who regularly got a full night’s sleep.

Too little sleep is very common among adolescents. Approximately 69 out of 100 high school students get insufficient sleep, which scientists consider as seven hours of sleep or less on an average school night.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends that teens should get a little more than nine hours of sleep per night. The following tips are provided by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine:

Talk to your teen. Discuss the importance of sleep. Your teen may be more motivated to go to bed early if he or she understands the benefits of sleep and how it impacts their health.

Set a bedtime. Decide on a bed time for school nights with your teen. An ideal bedtime would allow your teen to get about nine hours of sleep each night. But, keep in mind that teens often have trouble falling asleep before 10 p.m.

Limit distractions. Keep the TV and computer out of your teen’s bedroom.

Set a communication curfew. Set a time after which your teen can no longer talk on the phone, engage on social media, or send text messages, instant messages or e-mails.

Encourage consistency. Encourage your teen to go to bed and wake up at reasonable times on weekends. Sleeping into the afternoon on a Saturday will make it hard for your teen to return to a school-week schedule on Monday.

Let in morning light. Open the blinds or curtains in the morning to expose your teen to bright sunlight. This helps set his or her body clock for the day. Your teen will be able to fall asleep easier that night.

Help your teen plan ahead. Your teen may be a procrastinator. This can cause him or her to stay up much too late to get a lot of schoolwork done at once. Help your teen learn how to prioritize school assignments and to do some work ahead of time to help eliminate late nights.

Limit after-school activities. Your teen can’t do it all. Help him or her set a reasonable limit on after-school activities.

Limit weeknight chores. Let your teen focus on schoolwork during the week. He or she can do household chores on the weekend.

Prepare for the next school day. Help your teen prepare at night for the next day of school. You can make lunch while he or she picks out clothes and gathers school supplies. This will allow a little more time for sleep in the morning.

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