By: John Birch, CEO
We have known for quite some time that your tweens and teens need a full 8.5 to 9 hours of
sleep each night. Many studies have been conducted showing that having less than the
recommended amount of sleep can cause havoc on a teen’s body and mental processes. Sleep
deprivation can affect your student’s ability to stay focused in class and also become
detrimental to their overall mood. According to the latest National Sleep Foundation study,
over 25% of students fall asleep during their classes due to a lack of sleep. However, this does
not count those who often begin to nod off in class. This study directly ties lost sleep to poorer
grades. Also, sleep loss is linked to emotional problems, such as sadness and often times,
depression. Lack of sleep can also play an important role in a student’s ability to perform at
their highest level in sports, which take agility and significant focus that they do not have if
suffering from sleep loss.
Signs that your student may not be getting enough sleep:
- Difficulty waking in the morning.
- Overall inability to concentrate.
- Falling asleep during class.
- Feelings of moodiness or depression.
The following will disrupt and negatively impact your students sleep patterns:
1. Bringing Technology to Bed – A recent study by The Bank of America found that 71% of
all respondents sleep with their smartphones and 23% actually fall asleep with their
phones in their hands. Various tones indicating incoming calls, texts and emails disturb
sound sleeping and can inhibit REM patterns. Your student may go to bed at the
appropriate time, but may not fall asleep quickly because they may be texting with their
friends for hours after getting into bed.
Make every effort to have your teen turn off their technology devices at least 1 hour before
going to bed to avoid the mental stimulation from those products.
2. Consuming Caffeinated Drinks at Night – Coffee boost beverages and sodas may give
your student energy in the morning, but will certainly disrupt sleep patterns by blocking
sleep-inducing brain chemicals and increasing adrenaline production. Caffeine enters
the blood stream through the stomach and small intestines and can overly stimulate
your teen as quickly as 15 minutes after it has been consumed. Those effects of caffeine
will last for up to 6 hours after consumption.
Have your students stop drinking products that may contain caffeine by no later than
5:00pm. This may be a struggle but the end results are well worth it.
3. Exercising Just Prior to Bedtime- Exercise provides the body with a strong adrenaline
rush. Although exercise is an important factor in developing a strong mind and body,
rigorous exercise within two to three hours prior to bedtime can make it very difficult
for many people to fall asleep.
Ensure that your student has completed their exercise and sports routines by no later than
8:00pm so that the adrenaline rush from exercise has left their system.
As previously stated, there is a direct correlation between getting enough sleep and
academic achievement. The aforementioned tips will do much to ensure that your student
does get enough sleep. Also, please do your best to avoid any family arguments or
discussions that could be stressful to your child. Save these discussions for another time.
Bedtime should be a time of security and warmth for your child. Think about how you feel
when you have been placed in a stressful situation just prior to bedtime. Pleasant dreams
to you and all your family.