Sleep is food for the brain. During sleep, important body functions and brain activity occur. Skipping sleep can be harmful — even deadly, particularly if you are behind the wheel. You can look bad, you may feel moody, and you perform poorly. Sleepiness can make it hard to get along with your family and friends and hurt your scores on school exams, on the court or on the field.
But for teenagers, who are at a critical stage of development, skipping out on sleep can be particularly dangerous. Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and sleep specialist, told The Huffington Post in an email. Though sleep is arguably most critical during the teen years, teenagers are the least likely of any age group to be getting sufficient rest. Over time, that late-to-bed, early-to-rise sleep schedule can lead to a number of health risks.
5 Scary Health Effects Of Sleep Deprivation During The Teen Years
My year-old daughter is finally entering the homestretch of sophomore year, and she has been chronically sleep deprived since September. The reasons are multiple but when you add together 45 minutes of homework per class per night, plus a few extra-curricular activities, plus the downtime spent everyday watching a John Green video on YouTube or chatting with friends, and a normal amount of procrastination, it adds up to between 5 and 7 hours of sleep on an average school night. Throw in a term paper or heavy exam week and the average can easily drop to 3 or 4.
Does your teen have trouble waking for school in the morning? Is he or she staying up all hours of the night? Is your teen losing sleep to social media, computer games, or late night parties? And are you, as a parent, losing communication with your teen?