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Submitted by on November 3, 2009 – 9:46 amNo Comment

SleepStudy_582x382Why is it that even though you know you should be heading to bed, you feel wide awake? Then, when you wake up in the morning and feel as though you have been hit by a truck, or your feet are suddenly made of clay, you feel tired.

Wide awake at night, and a walking zombie in the morning…….

Some sleep studies show that during the teen years, the body’s circadian rhythm (your internal biological clock) is temporarily reset, telling you to fall asleep later and wake up later. This change in the circadian rhythm seems to be due to the fact that the brain hormone melatonin is produced later at night for teens than it is for kids and adults. This can make it harder for teens to fall asleep early.

Some school boards in North America are working to develop later start times for classes, but this is not yet a widespread practice.

Most teens require between 8 and 9 hours of sleep every night or even more, but many surveys show that a lot of teens and young women do not get required daily rest. There are a lot of reasons:

  • too much t.v.
  • homework
  • busy schedule outside of school
  • texting
  • online after hours

How do I know if I am getting enough sleep?

Do you:

  • Find it hard to get out of bed in the morning?
  • Fall asleep during class?
  • Feel sad or depressed?
  • Get sick a lot?
  • Get skin break-outs a lot?

How you can help yourself:

  • try to get on a schedule whereby you go to bed and wake up at the same time daily – yes that includes the weekends…..
  • exercise on a regular basis.
  • eat dinner 2-3 hours before going to bed.
  • sleep in a dark room without nightlights or other ambient light.
  • some people swear by warm milk at bedtime.
  • get into a bedtime routine whereby you do the same things every night (have a shower, read or listen to music).

Things to avoid:

  • caffeine from coffee, soft drinks, chocolate and energy drinks.
  • thinking about stressful things at bedtime…..like the test tomorrow, or how you had a fight with your parents. Try to relax.
  • strenuous exercise right before bed. It sounds like a good idea to really tire yourself out, but in fact you raise your heart-rate, which needs to slow down for you to properly rest.
  • t.v., texting or talking on the phone right before bed.
  • all-nighters.  Try to get homework done in reasonable chunks of time as opposed to several hours of crunch time……you’ll do better on that test.

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