The effects of sleep deprivation for teen students include:
- poor academic performance
- lower grade point averages
- mental health issues
- behavioral issues
- increased vulnerability to illness
We all know that young children need sleep and routines which is why we
give them bedtimes.
But, as teens get older, we tend to forget that their brains and bodies
are still growing and that they need more sleep than adults.
When teens are not getting the sleep they need, we tend to see their school
performance suffer, in addition to other areas of their life.
How Does Lack Of Sleep Affect Academic Performance?
Studies show that teenagers need 9-10 hours of sleep. Without proper sleep,
memory and the ability to concentrate as well as higher cognitive functioning
is severely affected.
This means that when your teen pulls an all-nighter to study for exams,
they are setting themselves up for a poor
academic performance on exam day.
A survey by the
National Sleep Foundation found that 60% of high school students suffered from extreme daytime fatigue
which caused them to regularly fall asleep in class.
They attributed this to the average of 6.5 hours of sleep that the students
were getting. “Chronic sleep loss in children and adolescents is
one of the most common – and easily fixable – public health
issues in the U.S. today,” said pediatrician Judith Owens, MD who
led the study.
Dr. Avi Sadeh, a lecturer at the University of Tel Aviv, conducted a study
to find out just how much sleep deprivation affected academic performance:
“A loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent to [the loss of] two years
of cognitive maturation and development.”
What this means practically is that a sleepy eighth grader will perform
academically closer to a sixth grade level.
Lack of sleep also reduces the efficacy of immune systems and that leaves
students vulnerable to all the illnesses they are exposed to at school.
Missed school days also contribute to poor academic performances.
Common Reasons Teens Experience Sleep Deprivation
Phase Delay - One of the reasons teens tend to stay up late is biological. Sleep researchers
Mary Carskadon at Brown University, and Bill Dement at Stanford found
that at certain times of our life, our biological clocks keep us up and
make us resistant to sleep. This phenomenon is called ‘phase delay’
and occurs before and during puberty. That means that your poor teen doesn’t
feel in the least bit sleepy despite the fact that they really need their rest.
Screens - according to a one study by VicHealth, using a smartphone, computer
or other handheld gaming device right before bedtime can reduce sleep
time or cause sleep procrastination.
Too Full After-School Schedule - Many teens are involved extracurricular activities such as sports, drama
and band which can have late practices that can cut into homework and
sleep time. Other teens take on part-time jobs or other social committments
that can impact sleep times.
Ways to Help Teens Get Enough Sleep
Melatonin Supplelements - One way to encourage students to sleep is by taking a melatonin supplement
just before bed.
Healthy Diet & Exercise - Encourage exercise and healthy eating. Avoid sugar and caffiene in the
Curfew - Get your teens to avoid computers, games and academic tasks at least
two hours before bedtime.
These simple solutions can make a big impact on academic performance by
increasing the number of hours of sleep your teen gets each night.
In addition, many schools across the U.S. have chosen to begin class with
later start times so that students can sleep more.
Dr. Owens from the National Sleep Foundation had this to say about the change:
"By advocating for later school start times for middle and high school
students, the AAP is both promoting the compelling scientific evidence
that supports school start time delay as an important public health measure,
and providing support and encouragement to those school districts around
the country contemplating that change.”
A Harvard study discovered that the brain continues to learn even after
you fall asleep.
This is when it consolidates information and works through processes or
steps you have learned the day before.
Have you ever found that you were struggling with something, but then after
a nap or a good night’s sleep, you suddenly got the hang of it?
That’s because while you are sleeping, your brain was working on
the problem without the noise and distractions of the day.
Improve Your Teen's Academic Performance By Helping Them Get The Sleep
If you want to help your student to excel academically and be healthier
and happier, then more sleep is definitely the answer. Move your Zzzzz
to A’s this semester by making sure your students are getting all
the sleep they need.
If your child could use some extra tutoring help with their schoolwork,
find your nearby Tutor Doctor location today. We help students from all walks of life exceed in school and reach
their academic goals.