When teens don’t get enough sleep, there are consequences beyond just being more irritable or moody.
Over the long term, a lack of sleep can influence appetite, nudging a person to reach for more empty carbohydrates and sugar. Inadequate sleep also seems to send a signal to our bodies to store more fat. A recent study found that sleep deprivation reduces insulin sensitivity, setting the stage for a range of metabolic problems, including Type 2 diabetes and weight gain.
And there’s another consequence of being poorly rested, cognitive disorder of focus, attention and concentration.
The forgetfulness and distraction that’s so common among teens, she says, may result partly from sleepiness.
Though some top students can thrive despite a sleep deficit, others may not be so lucky. Being well-rested, researchers say, enhances academic performance.
We are actually learning during sleep. In some sleep stages, our brains are taking the information we’ve gathered during the day creating the memories that are going to allow us to retrieve the information at a later time.
Naps can be restorative, just not to late in the day.
Catching extra shut-eye on the weekends can help, but you don’t want to make it hard to get to sleep at a reasonable hour the next night. A good rule of thumb is to sleep no more than two hours past your typical wake-up time.
And here are a few more tips aimed particularly at teens:
1. Keep a regular study schedule: Cramming late at night cuts into sleep, and may create an irregular sleep-wake schedule.
2. Turn off the electronics earlier in the evening, especially the hour before you need to hit the sack. Text-messaging, watching television, playing video games and doing other sorts of computer work can disrupt your ability to fall asleep. And a chirping cellphone may wake you up at night.
3. Eliminate or cut down on caffeine, particularly in the three to five hours before you want to fall asleep.