While some parents put this sloth-like behaviour down to laziness, there is actually a biological reason that teens are often reluctant to open their eyes at silly o’clock in the morning (unlike our seemingly semi-nocturnal toddlers).
Adults need an average of eight hours sleep a night, but for teens, that increases to up to 9.25 hours of sleep, according to the Raising Children Network. It is also thought that puberty’s effect on teenage hormones can mean that a teen’s circadian rhythms change and they are naturally more suited to going to bed later and waking up later. This can lead to teens not getting enough sleep, which leaves them tired, irritable and less likely to be jumping out of bed for school early in the morning.
It also throws into question the validity of early school start times for teens. In the US, some schools have trialled later start times for their teenage students. And the results in some cases are quite surprising. One study found that as well as seemingly increasing academic performance, a later school start time for teens decreased their use of alcohol, drugs and cigarettes. In light of such studies, organisations such as the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have thrown their support behind school start times for teens of 8.30am or even later. Read more here.
In Australia, however, early high school starts are still common. So, how can you ensure your teen is getting enough sleep, even when early school start times are destined to thwart their rest? The National Sleep Foundation in the US gives this advice:
For more tips, see sleepfoundation.org.
Read our article on 5 tips to raising awesome teenagers here.