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Parenting advice for ensuring your teen isn’t sleep deprived

Author James Dunsford
Submitted 20-01-2010

A recent study found that the vast majority of U.S. teenagers aren’t getting enough sleep, putting them at risk for drowsiness, depression, headaches and poor school performance.

Researchers involved with the National Youth Risk Behavior Study found that only 8 percent of high school students get the recommended amount of sleep each night. They also found that as students age, they are more likely to be sleep deprived, with 20 percent more 12th graders found to be lacking in appropriate sleep than 9th graders.

The National Sleep Foundation says nine hours of sleep each night is optimal for adolescents, while eight hours is borderline and anything under eight hours is simply not enough.

"The natural sleep-wake pattern shifts during adolescence, making earlier bed time and wake times more difficult. The result for students with early school start-times is a chronic sleep deficit," said lead study author Dr Danice Eaton.

Hectic social activities, jobs, family obligations and homework also contribute to a lack of proper sleep times.

Experts say fathers can help ensure their teens are getting enough sleep by encouraging and enforcing regular sleep and wake times. They can also discourage after-school naps and prepare their teens for bed by dimming the lights, limiting caffeinated beverages and keeping the nighttime routine calm.