According to a study by sleep expert Mary Carskadon, PhD, teens should receive more thannine hours of sleep every night. That's a great thought, but is it possible? Think about it--do you ever sleep that long?
OK, maybe on the weekends. But very few teens receive sufficient sleep on school nights.
Dr. Carskadon's study suggests biology might be the cause for sleep deprivation among teens. Their internal time clocks are just a little different during teenage years--and late nights andsleep-ins are a natural part of growing into adulthood.
Lack of sleep makes it more difficult for students to concentrate in school, especially during those early-morning classes.
Studies About Sleep and Memory
Our ability to remember is related to our ability to learn, and there have been many studies about sleep and its effects on memory, learning, and retention. These studies suggestthat good sleep habits are essential to good study habits.
• One study about learning languages shows that it is good to study right before going to sleep because "there is near-consensus that sleep promotes learning of certain types of perceptual memories." In other words, sleep helps students store memories to be retained and remembered the next day.
• Another study shows that sleepstrengthens memories so they become clear and resistant to interferences and distractions.
• A study from 1999 suggests that information becomes "cemented" in our brains as we sleep.
These studies show that sleep is important, but the also suggest that it may be most helpful to study right before bed time.
Avoiding Sleep Deprivation
So what can you do if you know you aren't getting enoughsleep?
Turn off the TV at night. Some teens fall asleep with the TV on, and some are so used to the noise they think they can't sleep without it. Not true! The TV noises and flashing lights will only keep you from getting a sound sleep. If you can remember anything you hear during your sleep, it's a sure sign you're not sleeping well.
Try switching to caffeine-free drinks. Reduce caffeine byswitching to something healthier, like bottled water. If that's too much to ask, at least try a caffeine-free version of your favorite drink!
Limit after-school activities. It's hard to do, but try to limit your extracurricular activity. Decide once and for all if good performance and your college potential is important, and then set priorities. Sometimes you just have to make a hard choice andstick to it.
Don't think too hard right before bed time. If you have calculus homework, you might not want to put it off until night. It's harder to relax and get to sleep when your mind is stuck in the deep-thinking mode. It takes awhile to unwind, so maybe you should tackle the hardest subject earlier.
Same for crazy video games. Video games may also cause your brain to enter the overdrive zone.If you play video games, don't do them just before you go to bed.
Turn off the cell phone. What's so important it can’t wait until morning? Unless you have a really good reason (like a working parent who may need to reach you) turn it off and get some rest.
Keep track of time. Often, students have great intentions, but other tasks seem to keep them up late, time after time. That's because teenshave to develop an understanding of time management and task completion. It's hard to put a timetable on things like running an errand or completing a science experiment.
Start keeping track of things you do routinely and the amount of time needed to do certain tasks. Then plan ahead so you can get to bed on time.
Play music if you want, but not too loud. Many people play music at night. If it...