Teens lack sleep. From the age of 11 or 12, they are reluctant to go to bed, and in the years that follow, they go to bed later and later. By being diplomatic, we can curb the trend.
In an age of exploring limits, keeping your eyes open when you should close them is part of ritualistic experiences. Stay up late at night is the first of the revolts, teenagers need to prove to themselves that they are no longer children and that parents no longer have to tell them when to go to bed. Psychological evolution plays a role in the lag that begins to set in during pre-puberty, but it does not explain everything.
Physiological transformation also contributes to delay bedtime. Indeed, at the end of childhood, the lowering of body temperature which promotes the onset of sleep occurs a little later.
The gap is however amplified by the mores of adolescents. At night, young people often watch movies on their computers, chat, text or play games.
The light sources are stimulants, just like coffee or tobacco. Stuck in front of a screen, adolescents remain artificially awake, the sleep time they naturally need is reduced. It is not without consequences.
A significant sleep deficit in 15-19 year olds
Transport time requires, during middle and high school years, they usually have to get up earlier than when they were attending local school. No way, during the week, to linger in bed in the morning.
However, the needs of adolescents are greater than those of adults. On average, they should have nine hours of sleep to be in good shape, about as many as children.
The population as a whole lacks sleep, but the deficit is particularly important among 15-19 year olds. They sleep during breaks or during certain classes.
Some teens claim that their drowsiness does not prevent them from listening and that it even has an advantage: they would be less agitated in class than when they went to bed earlier. 55% of teenagers sleepy during the day at least once a week and 30% of them fall asleep considered pathological. It is no longer rare for teachers to wake up a sleeping student.
The teenagers rarely complain about their lack of sleep, at least not to their parents, whose reactions they fear. On weekends, they do nights of ten, eleven, twelve or more hours.
Sleeping in on Sunday, however, prevents them from falling asleep at a reasonable time in the evening to get off to a good start on Monday morning. It desynchronizes the rhythm of sleep: ideally, the times of getting up and going to bed should be regular.
Assess the amount of sleep they need
Sleep debt affects mood and school performance, it is likely to cause discomfort, dizziness, two-wheeler accidents. It affects the health of adolescents by disturbing the production of growth hormones, reducing the immune system, reducing the elimination of toxins, disrupting blood sugar levels at the risk of promoting overweight and diabetes.
And parents don’t know how to get their teens to go to bed at a reasonable time. A teenager is looking for himself, we can take the opportunity to suggest that he evaluate the dose of sleep he needs to be in good shape.
A grid listing the sleep duration during school and vacation periods allows to calculate the average duration which suits him. The prospect of getting better grades could potentially cause some teens to go to bed a little earlier.
School performance, fear of having an accident, of not growing enough, of gaining weight or of falling ill, every teenager has his sensitive points. You might as well use it to draw their attention to the risks they are taking and encourage them to adopt more responsible behavior.
Alerting young people to the importance of sleep
Most teens don’t know the importance and functioning of sleep. Once they understand why it is necessary to sleep well, it should be possible to get them to accept the necessary accommodations. In the evening, stimulants (coffee, tea, vitamin C, cola, alcohol) are to be avoided. Too copious meals and sports practices should be avoided.
In the second part of the evening, lingering in front of a screen does not pay attention to signs of sleep, better to relax in a hot bath or take a book. We need them leave a bit of the field open, but negotiate compromises. If the sleep problems prove to be significant or too difficult to resolve, do not hesitate to consult a specialist.
Letting teens sleep with their dog in their bed, a solution?
From the outset, one would tend to think that the fact of sleep with your dog or cat is not good for sleep. Our four-legged companions are not always very clean, can move and wake us up, make noise… In short, we are far from the perfect night. But for children and young adolescents, things would be different, at least if we are to believe the results of a scientific study, published on April 30, 2021 in the journal Sleep heath.
Researchers analyzed the sleep patterns of 188 children, aged 11 to 17. It turned out that about half of the participants with pet regularly shared their bed with him. It was a dog, a cat or even a rabbit, the researchers note.
Surprisingly, children who reported sleeping frequently with their four-legged friend benefited frombetter quality sleep than others. The researchers suggest that this could be because children consider their pets to be a “close friend”, and that the fact of Having him by their side would help them calm their nocturnal fears.
The authors of the study note that adults sleeping with their dogs or cats may have more problems sleeping because of the limited space in the bed. It is also possible that the practice of “Co-sleeping” with dog or cat either perceived positively or negatively according to the attachment that one has to his animal, the anxiety or the character of the animal.