HS Daze: The Importance of Being Earnest about Sleep for High Schoolers

The importance of sleep for high schoolers is well-known (so yesterday), but it’s worth a reminder that getting enough sleep is fundamental to improving performance in school and out.

So, here’s a timely pre-school reminder story worth a read (or a listen if you’re too bushed), not to sacrifice sleep, to set a consistent “Light’s Out” time every night, and to put the books and the devices down and just pick it up in the morning – just in case you were too sleep deprived and brain-dead to catch this message the first oh so many times you were told this.

High School Daze: The Perils Of Sacrificing Sleep For Late-Night Studyinghttp://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/08/21/159435167/high-school-daze-the-perils-of-sacrificing-sleep-for-late-night-studying  Here’s some story highlights:

  • a new study published in the journal Child Development finds that when teens don’t get the sleep they need on a given night, the next day all kinds of things can go poorly.”…
  • “What we learned is that when kids cram, particularly at the expense of sleep, the next day they’re more likely to have academic problems even though they spent more time studying that night,” explains researcher Andrew Fuligni of UCLA.”
  • Maybe this explains why rising 12th-grader Patrick Ottolini from suburban Washington, D.C., has realized it’s not always the best strategy to stay up late and cram. “If it’s, like, a big test, it’s not going to work at all,” he says. Instead of sacrificing sleep, he says, he has learned it’s best to try to pace himself and find regular chunks of time each day to study. His classmate David LoBosco says he has another strategy that works for him: When it comes to prepping the night before a quiz, he finds it better to get some sleep and set the alarm. “You know, wake up early in the morning and study,” he says.

And some helpful tips for young and old:

1. Keep a regular sleep-wake schedule throughout the week. When your schedule varies by more than 60 to 90 minutes day-to-day (or school nights vs. weekend nights), this can have negative consequences for academics, mood and health.

2. Try to get 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 hours of sleep a night: Best for middle and high school-age adolescents

3. Keep a regular study schedule: Trying to study late at night interferes with a teen’s ability to get a sufficient amount of sleep, and may create an irregular sleep-wake schedule as noted above.

4. Minimize high-tech in one’s sleep environment and particularly in the hour before trying to fall asleep (such as: text messaging, computer work/games, watching videos, etc.). These activities will also interfere with falling asleep and might wake you up at night if you keep your cellphone on during the night.

5. Eliminate caffeine from your diet, particularly 3 to 5 hours before trying to fall asleep.

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