Kids Under Construction: Why do teens need more sleep?

Kids Under Construction

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Ever wonder why teenagers will often sleep the day away?

Well this week, parenting expert and journalist Donna Tetreault joins ABC4 to discuss why that is and why it’s important for teens to get their rest.

Tetreault explains that teens need nine to 9.5 hours a night to support their developing brains, one more hour than a 10-year-old would need.

This sleep is essential to help teens’ brains and bodies grow through such a pivotal period of their life. Getting a proper amount of sleep can also help protects a teen’s brain from depression and drug use.

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But what should a parent do if their teen doesn’t want to sleep?

One important thing to do is to keep phones and other devices out of a teen’s bedroom. Multiple studies have shown that using technology at night affects sleep.

Another option is to link proper sleep with a teen’s car privileges. Sleep deprivation can lead to car accidents, so it’s important for parents to emphasize that their teens get proper sleep if they want to use their car.

One major thing parents need to watch out for in regards to their teen’s sleeping patterns is the “summer shift.”

Tetreault says the summer shift happens when children are on summer break and staying up late with their friends and doing other activities, breaking that sleeping pattern they had during the school year.

Early August is the best time for parents to start shifting that summer sleep schedule to make sure teens are ready for the upcoming school year. Going to bed each night 15 to 20 minutes earlier will gradually get kids back to their school routine by the time school starts.

To watch the full conversation with parenting expert Donna Tetreault, click the video at the top of this story.

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