One of the most common issues middle school parents face is that their kids have trouble getting up in the morning during the week and stay in bed a long time at the weekend. There is also a common assumption that teenagers find it easier to concentrate in class in the mornings than in the afternoons.
Well it will be a surprise to some parents to learn that scientific research into the brains of your teenage kids show that their natural biological sleep pattern at this age shifts toward later times for both sleeping and waking, meaning it is natural for a teenager not to be able to fall asleep before 11pm. Research also shows that adolescents need approximately 9.5 hours sleep, which creates a problem for parents. If a parent tells their child to go to bed at 9pm, there is a good chance that they may not be able to fall asleep until 11 or 12pm. If they then rise at 06:30am, they certainly have not had enough sleep.
Schools could also take note of this research. Many people think that lessons that require more writing or ‘thinking’ should be in the morning and other lessons such as Art and PE should be in the afternoons. But in fact many teenagers feel more tired in the morning because they are actually in the middle of their natural biological sleeping pattern.
Also, ideally, school for middle and high school kids based on research, should start at 10am or 11am. Not possible at the moment but interesting nevertheless!
What can we do to help our teenagers get through the school week more effectively?
Here’s some advice for teenagers from the American National Sleep Foundation:
- Take Naps.
- Keep your bedroom cool, quiet and dark
- Try to establish a routine which you try to keep to it as much as possible at weekends
- Eat and drink and exercise
- Don’t drink caffeine (esp. within two hours of bedtime)
- Eat a good breakfast and don’t skip lunch.
Have a look at the following website for more information:
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