Today’s teens are struggling to fit enough sleep into their busy lives

Today’s teens are struggling to fit enough sleep into their busy lives

Today, school is only part of a hectic teen’s day, and for many 14-year-old girls, the day can reach far into the night.

Rowing can start before the moon nods off to sleep, meaning an alarm clock cuts through any teen dreams as early as 4.15am. Rowing morphs into school, which becomes hockey or swimming training or netball practice. Home beckons, but means a quick shower and dinner. And the clock chimes 8.30 pm. Often, this is when many girls first open their books to begin the assigned homework.

Mandy, Margaret, and Joanne are not exceptions to the rule. Busy-bee lives are unfolding each day in schools across Australia, and the impact is devastating. Teachers report yawns from 9am and brain experts say learning while tired is pretty much useless. Parents admit they’re not sure what time their teens nod off, and many girls nominate a lack of sleep as the key reason behind conflict with their parents.

Heavy school workloads, on top of extracurricular activities, are a key reason behind an epidemic in sleep deficit. Our 14-year-olds are worried sick, even if they are not telling you. It might be anxiety over an upcoming test or friendship angst that follows your daughter home from school. The lure of the blue-lit screen resting on the bedside table adds to the problem, with the short-wavelength light emitted suppressing the sleep hormone and delaying sleep onset. In lay terms, the teen’s brain is being told it’s time to wake up.

And then, when they wake to a piercing alarm the next morning, what is their first act? That question is put to a group of Brisbane 14-year-olds. The answer is so in tune it seems practised: “Check my phone.”

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Source: Sydney Morning Herald

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