Teenagers and sleep are a difficult combination. They always seem to want to stay up much later than they should and then they want to stay asleep much later than they should. No matter how much sleep they get it never seems like enough, most teens are tired and grumpy. For many parents dealing with their teens and sleep can be a real nightmare. A new study has found that one of the best ways of making sure that your teen is getting a good amount of sleep is by having parents who are involved in their lives and having a good school and social life. In other words, teens who are reasonably content in their surroundings are more likely to sleep well.
It turns out that teenagers need around 8 hours of sleep a night, more than an adult but less than a young child. The teen years are crucial to the overall cognitive and emotional development, sleeping enough each and every night has long term impacts on a person’s general mental state, from their social ability to their cognitive capacity. This means that making sure your teen is sleeping well is an important role for every parent.
While many previous studies have looked at teens’ physiological factors in their sleep, not many have researched how a teen’s home, school and social life affect their sleep. A new study has done just this, they study was published in the December issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior . It found that a teen’s social bonds, in particular those relationships with their parents and their friends, could have a major part in a teen’s overall sleep patterns and habits.
David Maume, a sociology researcher at the University of Cincinnati and one of the authors of the study, said that the study “found that social ties were more important than biological development as predictors of teen sleep behaviors,”
He analyzed data that he had gathered from almost 1000 teenagers from between when they were 12 to 15. This data informed him that their sleep duration dropped from around nine hours each night to less than eight hours a night over these three years.
During the study Maume found that the teen’s parental oversight, in particular whether they had a set bed time and how strictly this was enforced, had a powerful impact on the health of their sleep. Maume writes that “Research shows that parents who keep tabs on their kids are less likely to see them get into trouble or use drugs and alcohol,”
The study goes on to say that the findings “suggest a similar dynamic with sleep. Parents who monitor their children’s behavior are more likely to have kids that get adequate rest. Given that children generally get less sleep as they become teenagers, parents should be ever more vigilant at this stage,” he added.
The study also found that those teens who had rated their home, school and social life better were more likely to have better length and quality of sleep. “Teens who have pro-social friends tend to behave in pro-social ways, which includes taking care of one’s health by getting proper sleep,” Maume writes.
The take home is that if you want your teen to sleep better you need to be involved in their life, and you need to make sure that they are happy at school.
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