Adolescent sleep habits are enough to drive any parent insane. As any parent can tell you, as children get older they find it more difficult to pull themselves from bed in the morning. Most young adults need several nudges before they will drag themselves from the covers. Even when they are up, most get dressed in slow motion. These students often stumble off the bus and into classrooms like sleepwalking zombies. Hormones and natural body rhythm is to blame as the adolescent body is not fully awake until around 10:00 in the morning.

This age group has a yet another biological disadvantage that takes place in the evening. The adolescent hormones cause a surge of energy around 9:00. During this time when they should be gearing down for rest, their minds are often wide-awake seeking stimulation. Many young people text, talk on the phone, or play computer games late into the evening as this surge of energy can last for two or three hours.

Both of these are natural occurrences in the heightened hormonal body of an adolescent, but they can make the academic lives of middle and high school students more difficult.

Frequent sleep deprivation can hinder learning. Lethargic students often suffer from loss of concentration, poor comprehension, and a lack of attentiveness in class. Many have heavy eyelids and fuzzy minds for at least the first part of the school day as they struggle to stay awake.

One essential purpose of sleep is to allow the mind to process and make sense of new information. Classroom grades can be affected by sleep patterns because without the proper amount of rest, the mind cannot readily process new concepts. New knowledge becomes sort of “half-baked” and the student is unable to fully comprehend new ideas.

It is important for good health as well as academic success that adolescents get enough sleep to perform their best. Below are some guidelines to help your child get more sleep.

Habits that Can Aid Sleep

• Set a standard bedtime (and stick to it)

• Gear down 30-45 minutes before bedtime

• Turn off TV, phone, and computer (this includes video games or texting)

• Read or listen to soothing music

• Lower the lights in the room to relax

• Sleep in a dark room

• Keep animals out of the bed (their movements can disrupt slumber)

• Stay close to the regular bedtime schedule on weekends

Be firm with your adolescent child when dealing with the issue of sleep. Their body will fall into a regular routine if that routine is consistent. It is in their best interest to have the proper amount of sleep for good health and optimum learning.

Author's Bio: 

Victoria is a child advocate. She has written the Hanbook for the Middle School Parent: Nine Ways to Help Your Child Succeed. She writes about the often misunderstood middle school child.