HS Daze, Part II: The Importance of Being Earnest about Sleep for…HS Student-Athletes

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The lovely, dark and deep Jaent DeMannequin only makes stops at Sleep Station Zzzzzz-ebra after keeping all her promises to log her miles. Without adequate sleep hygiene, she would never stay as sharp as she has for all these years, earning a well desereved reputation as the best rested girl in all of TX HS Cross Country.

Last year we reminded Marcus CC student-athletes and their parents about the importance of a good night’s sleep for HSers to function well in school. See HS Daze: Importance of Being Earnest about Sleep for High Schoolers. This year, we add an important update to that advice from the body of science.

Studies show that HS Student-Athletes can maximize performance and minimize injury by getting enough sleep. (Probably no great surprise there, don’t cha know, but the importance of catching sufficient zzzz’s is not necessarily adequately appreciated by one and all, and most everyone’s execution on following such simple advice is somewhat lacking.) The Dallas Morning News reported in a Sept. 3, 2013 article The secret to teen athletes’ success might be their sleep:

‘In terms of performance-boosting tools for high school athletes, the next big thing might be a good night’s sleep. “Coaches are only now starting to focus on sleep as a key part of competition,” said David K. Randall, author of Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep (Norton, $15.95). Without enough sleep, teen athletes are more likely to sustain injuries. With ample, good-quality sleep, they’re more likely to win.’

DSC_0375Winning? Avoiding injuries? Teenagers functioning more like human beings and less like zombies? Wow, that’s got to be a total win-win for everyone!

So, you ask, how much is enough sleep for a teen? Per the article:

“Adolescents need about 8 and ½ to 9 and ½ hours of sleep a night.”

100520121484And given the adolescent’s natural body clock what is the ideal time for a teen to go to bed at night and get up in the morning? Again, per the article:

‘ “Before adolescence, most children fall asleep naturally around 8 or 9 p.m.,” says Dr. William Hwang, a neurologist and sleep specialist at Methodist Charlton Medical Center. “But puberty changes a teen’s internal clock, delaying the time he or she starts feeling sleepy, often until 11 p.m. or later.” With that bedtime, teens should sleep until about 8 a.m., but according to the U.S. Department of Education, at least 40 percent of U.S. public high schools open before 8 a.m.’

So, if you run HS Cross Country for MHS, or for that matter anywhere in TX or the deep DSC_6913South/SW, or actually for any HS that has early morning practices that, let’s say, require you to report to school bright-eyed and bushy-tailed by 630 AM (getting up typically by 545 AM) five days a week, and sometimes as much as an hour before that for Saturday Morning Meets, is there anything such an accursed HSer can do? The article recommends implementing good sleep hygiene habits, such as:

‘ “Use light to your advantage,” advises Rosen, the pediatric sleep specialist. “Dim light tells the brain that it is time for sleep, and bright light says it’s time to wake.” He suggests keeping lights dim for 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime, and using lots of bright light upon waking.

Also put away the gadgets well prior to bedtime. Smartphones, laptops and iPads emit blue light, which tricks the body into thinking it is daytime.

“I think these electronics are some of the biggest factors contributing to teen insomnia,” says Rosen.’

Here’s some more Good Sleep Habits Tips for Teens per the article:

  • Lose the Red Bull. Don’t ingest caffeine after 4 p.m. Caffeine’s effects can last for several hours — even past midnight, for caffeine-sensitive teens.
  • Avoid stimulating activities late at night, such as computer games and action movies.
  • Follow a regular, relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
  • If you nap, keep it short — less than an hour. {MORE ON THIS TOPIC TO COME IN THE 3RD INSTALLMENT OF THIS SERIES (for a nap, you really want to shoot for a short 20 [no more than 30] minute or a full 90 minute nap.)}
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet.
  • Ban pets from the bedroom if they keep you awake.
  • Try to keep a regular schedule. “Teens may think that sleeping in later on the weekends helps them catch up, but it actually throws their body clocks off even more,” Hwang says.

Pioneer Trails 2013 (60)Although the MXC Webmaster would have gladly paid to have this message delivered to his kiddos, no funding was required to change hands here. Hopefully this bit of free advice, if followed, will pay dividends throughout the season, both on the course and in the classroom. Next, we’ll discuss the “Power Nap” and one HS’s “Nap Club!”  ~ The MXC Webmaster ~

NEXT MEET: SEP 28 – 8 AM – The Colony Invitational @ Hidden Cove Park, The Colony, TX  MAP: http://goo.gl/maps/qFVz  Street Address: 20400 Hackberry Creek Park Rd, The Colony, Texas FYI –The MXC Webmaster will not be able to attend, so if one or more of MXCers or parents or a collaborative group is/are willing to do the reporting this week, please speak up!

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3 thoughts on “HS Daze, Part II: The Importance of Being Earnest about Sleep for…HS Student-Athletes

    • Hi Michelle. Great to hear from you. Since not all email addresses are easily recognizable, and some folks just might enjoy knowing how the team is doing this year and in future years, we’ll wait for a formal request from a subscriber to opt-out. Please confirm that you are ready to opt-out and the address you would like removed and I will remove your email address from the subscriber list. Thx, Ross Blair, the MXC Webmaster.

      • OK, have learned as the MXC Webmaster I can not unsubscribe you, but you can do so. On the home page in the right margin there is a box that states you are following the site. There should be a link that says something like “(Manage)”, click on that link and you will be taken to a Word Press page where you will be able to unfollow this site. Here’s a link if you need more info or coaching on how to do so:
        “Hi there – you cannot remove subscribers on your end, but please point her here: http://en.support.wordpress.com/following/#unfollow-a-blog

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