Add to that: A teenager's body clock actually starts to shift later, making it even harder to fall asleep at pre-puberty bedtimes.
"Teens have several factors working against them when it comes to good sleep habits," says Dr. Suzanne Thompson, pediatric psychologist at St. Louis Children's Hospital, "but it's essential to identify and overcome those obstacles to establish a regular sleep routine."
The average teen requires nine or more hours of sleep every night, but studies show they're getting only about seven. The consequences include poor attention in class and poor school performance, weakened memory, bad or risky behavior, and overall irritability. Sleep deprivation also increases the risk of physical injury and obesity.
"Beginning in early middle school, talk with your kids about what activities and commitments are really important to them, and which ones are pushing the limits of bedtime," says Dr. Thompson.
Getting back into the school routine is exciting, and it's easy to get caught up in new activities and adventures. But doctors suggest you help your teen make bedtime a priority when they plan their schedules.
One of the easiest tricks to get to sleep faster — turn off your devices! Studies suggest kids who use screens 30 minutes before bed actually take longer to fall asleep.
And if they argue, tell them to sleep on it.
Concerned about your child's sleep? Call the pediatric specialists at St. Louis Children's Hospital Answer Line at 314-454-KIDS (5437) for helpful information.
From the calendar
For over 130 years, Children's Hospital and its Washington University School of Medicine physician partners have remained a resource for pediatric health and wellness for the St. Louis region and beyond.
They provide care in every pediatric specialty – from fetal care through adolescence. In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked St. Louis Children's Hospital in all 10 specialties, the only children's hospital in Missouri to earn this distinction. Their Level One Pediatric Trauma Center is nationally verified by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), the highest national recognition possible.
Call the Answer Line at 314-454-KIDS (5437) for questions about your child's health, to register for a class or find a physician.
Learn more at StLouisChildrens.org, member BJC Healthcare.
Find more ways to keep your child healthy and safe, courtesy of St. Louis Children's Hospital.
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