Making Quality Sleep a Priority of School Year Routines
Just like a healthy diet, quality sleep is a major part of how well your teen’s academic year will go. Their attitude, their ability to learn, and their sports and extracurricular performance, are all affected by how well they rest. Common sense says a sleepy kid will take longer to absorb information, and may even be disruptive to other students. Their grades may suffer, and the coach or mentors might start asking what’s going on at home.
Sleep, Attitude and Academics
Numerous sleep studies around the world have confirmed that staying up late and “catching up” on the weekends leads to increased depression. Roughly one in four teens in America goes to bed after 11:30 p.m. on weeknights, and they are more likely to feel sad and hopeless.
As for academics, it isn’t just about the amount of sleep, but the quality of sleep that helps most with retention and achievement. Regular screening by your pediatrician or GP for possible sleep issues is especially important for students who exhibit difficulties in math, languages, or reading.
Sleep and Sports Performance
The quality and amount of sleep athletes get is often the key to winning. REM sleep provides energy to both the brain and body. If sleep is cut short, the body doesn’t have time to repair, consolidate memory, and release hormones. Less sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, low energy, and poor focus at game time, and may also slow post-game recovery.
How to Know Your Teen’s Sleep Quality
You and your teenager may not be aware of the signs of poor sleep. Have your child answer true or false to provide clues as to how well they are sleeping.
- I feel sleepy during the day even when I get a good night’s sleep.
- I get very irritable when I can’t sleep.
- I often wake up at night and have trouble falling back to sleep.
- It usually takes me a long time to fall asleep.
- I often wake up very early and can’t fall back to sleep.
- I usually feel achy and stiff when I wake up in the morning.
- I often seem to wake up because of dreams.
- I sometimes wake up gasping for breath.
- My family (or my sleep app) says I snore.
- I’ve fallen asleep driving.
- I have morning headaches.
- My headaches continue throughout the day.
- I have more than 2 headaches per week.
- I grind or clench my teeth.
Sleep Quiz Results
- If your teen answered “true" more than once, you may want to discuss the results with their dentist, physician, or other health care professional.
- If they answered “true” more than three times, you should ask about oral appliance therapy.
- If they answered “true” to eight or more times, they should see a sleep and TMJ disorder specialist.