Summer Is A Good Time To Sleep

From my Healthy Living column in Moncton’s Times & Transcript.

In theory, summer should be a time during which a teenager can easily sleep the recommended 9 to 10 hours. After all, most teens’ schedules don’t force them to stay up late or wake up early when school isn’t in session.

In actuality, it is a challenge to go to bed and stay in bed even during the summer, at least where I’m concerned. Personally, I can’t seem to help staying awake later than usual when there is sunlight outside until nearly ten o’clock. A longtime early riser, I’m not fond of spending my morning sleeping in. Consequentially I sleep less during the summer than during the rest of the year and ultimately end up tired during my supposedly restful summer “break”.

This year however, I am convinced to do otherwise. Reading some information about lack of sleep and its effect on academic performance among other things was an effective source of motivation.

For example, according to an article in the Monitor on Psychology, “Lack of sufficient sleep… appear to put adolescents at risk for cognitive and emotional difficulties, poor school performance, accidents and psychopathology, research suggests.” The National Sleep Foundation lists forgetfulness, being prone to pimples, aggressive behavior, heightened effects of alcohol, limited abilit to learn, and unhealthy food choices as possible consequences of lack of sleep or sleep difficulties. Ouch!

My plan for the summer is to it here to a reasonable bedtime (bedtime… I feel like a preschooler whenever I use the term but, there isn’t another word that gets my point across!). The Canadian Paediatric Society’s website says that going to bed at the same time every night is a strategy for getting more sleep within itself, thus I plan to use the extra strategies mostly as reinforcement.

Taking a tip from KidsHealth.org, I plan to stay away from bright lights and to avoid reading captivating books before going to sleep (one of my favorite summertime habits, sigh). I also plan to try to stay away from the computer in the evening after being reminded to do so by a Mayo Clinic video I found on YouTube.

I chose to discuss these ideas because they are the ones I will be using. However, they are just a few of the plethora of tips I found..

For more information on sleep, the importance of sleeping for teenagers, and tips for getting more sleep, you can visit the following websites:

Canadian Paediatric Society’s article on sleep and teenagers

http://www.cps.ca/caringforkids/teenhealth/TeensSleep.htm

KidsHealth.org article on sleep and teenagers

http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/wellbeing/how_much_sleep.html#

Mayo Clinic video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrLBaJDwHyw

National Geographic article about sleep

http://ngm.com/sleep

National Sleep Foundation’s article on sleep and teenagers

http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/teens-and-sleep

 

Originally published in the Times & Transcript on June 19th, 2010.

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