A March 1st National Public Radio segment last week on sleep might be of interest to parents. First, what you likely already know: if teens don’t get enough sleep they are likely to be even crabbier and moodier than usual, to be slower, less coordinated, and more injury prone during sports (and driving), to perform at a lower level on tests and other academic measures, and to crave junk food more (putting them at risk for weight gain) — and that’s just the short list. But you might not know the exact hours of sleep recommend (as determined by science!): 8 1/2 – 9 1/4 hours. So if you have a teen who wakes up at 6 am, the lights should be turned off in his/her room no later than 9:15 pm (it takes the average person 15 min to fall asleep). And one hour before that — 8:15 pm — is the time suggested for all electronics to end (that includes cell phones, which should be in a separate room or controlled via a lock-down request available from wireless provider). Most if not all teens will dismiss these guidelines and supporting data as pure crazy talk, of course. If they slept more, they’d understand how right you are about this and everything else.
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