How to Foster Healthy Sleep Habitsin Children of All Ages
Why are teens so sleep deprived?
According to the Child Mind Institute, biology, technology, and societal expectations, including homework and extracurriculars, together create a perfect storm for chronic sleep deprivation.
Major contributors to adolescent sleep debt:
- Biology: Along with the more obvious hormonal changes that transform your child into a teen are shifts in the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. That is why your teenager actually seems more awake at midnight than at dinner, and left alone would probably sleep until ten or eleven. That is the normal circadian rhythm for 15- to 22-year-olds.
- Technology: Electronics emit a glow called blue light that has a particular frequency. When it hits receptors in the eye, those receptors send a signal to the brain that suppresses the production of melatonin and keeps kids from feeling tired.
- Over-scheduling: We live in a culture that values activity over sleep. Teens are constantly being told that they have to be “well-rounded,” which means that the more they do, the better their college applications will look.