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New video: Healthy sleep habits for teens

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Teen girl sleep mask
Photo: photographer/iStockphoto

Darien, IL — Is your teen getting enough sleep? The likely answer is no.

According to 2019 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 22.1% of high school students got the recommended amount of sleep on an average school night – down from 25.4% in 2017.

A new video from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends teens get eight to 10 hours of sleep a night, but recognizes the challenges to a good night’s rest. For instance, teens’ body clocks naturally keep them awake later at night, leading to difficulty waking up early the next morning.

“While it might seem like teens sleep a lot, most are sleep deprived and trying to catch up on weekends,” AASM President Raman Malhotra said in a press release. “The obligations of school, work, family and friends make it hard for teenagers to get sufficient sleep to perform their best.”

 

The AASM offers 10 tips for teens:

  • Get some physical activity each day.
  • Avoid caffeine after school.
  • Limit after-school naps to 30 minutes or less and avoid naps after 4 p.m.
  • Have meals around the same time each day and avoid eating close to bedtime.
  • Keep indoor lights dim at night.
  • Put away smartphones and electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Plan time to relax and unwind before going to bed.
  • Set a bedtime that allows at least eight hours of sleep.
  • Get bright light when you wake up every morning.
  • Stick to your sleep schedule as closely as possible on weekends.

Malhotra recommends schools adjust their start times to better suit teens’ circadian rhythms. He said later start times are associated with reduced tardiness, absences and daytime sleepiness, along with increased classroom attentiveness. The AASM supports school start times no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

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