Education Matters

Why sleep and wellbeing are vital for teens

Posted by Trinity Grammar School on Mar 13, 2018 6:00:00 AM

Why sleep and wellbeing are vital for teensThe ABC’s Behind the News latest ‘Happiness Survey’ of almost 47,000 children, has found that having a good night’s sleep is a key indicator of your son’s wellbeing. Sleep and wellbeing go hand-in-hand – children who regularly have the recommended amount of sleep each night reported significantly higher levels of both happiness and feelings of safety.

Sleep experts say teenagers today are sleeping less than they ever have. This is a worry, particularly because there is a link between sleep deprivation and accidents, obesity and cardiovascular disease in later life.

Lack of sleep also affect girls’ and boys’ learning, as it can leave them too tired to concentrate in class and perform well in exams.

Our sleep patterns are dictated by light and hormones. When light dims in the evening, we produce a chemical called melatonin, which tells us it's time to sleep.

Unfortunately, modern life has disrupted this pattern. Bright room lighting, TVs, games consoles, mobiles, tablets and PCs can all emit enough light to stop our bodies producing melatonin.

In the Happiness Survey, many participants recognised that their electronic gadgets are getting in the way of their sleep.

Professor Gibbs says the preparedness of children to report that their devices sometimes prevented them from getting enough sleep is a sign that children are aware of the problem. “It means there is clearly scope for parents to have conversations with their kids about how to manage the use of devices when it comes to sleep.”

Australia’s Sleep Health Foundation recommends that children aged six to 13 years have nine to 11 hours sleep per night, and those aged 14 to 17 years have eight to 10 hours. It also recommends against getting less than seven hours or more than 11 to 12 hours a night. On average, children in the survey reported they were getting 9.5 hours sleep a night, while some four percent reported getting less than seven hours a night.

Here are three ways you can promote a restful, quality night’s sleep for your son:

1. Prohibit devices in the bedroom
Turn off loud music, mobile phones, computer screens and TV at least one hour before bedtime and make sure all devices stay out of your son’s bedroom. Late-night phone calls, text messages and social media use can prevent the production of melatonin and mean broken sleep. Encourage your son to connect with friends during the day instead.

2. Avoid playing catch up
Allowing your son to catch up on sleep at weekends isn't ideal. Late nights and long lie-ins will just disrupt your son’s body clock. Keep wake-up times on school days and weekends to within two hours of each other. This will help get your son’s body clock into a regular rhythm and keep it there.

3. Watch the bedtime snack
While a bedtime snack is the norm in many households, encourage your son to choose his wisely. A sugar or caffeine laden variety will leave him jumpy and wired. Instead, try a banana or nut butter on whole grain crackers. The carbohydrates will trigger the release of insulin, which helps tryptophan (the sleep-inducing hormone) enter the brain and promote sleep.

For over a hundred years Trinity Grammar School has educated boys in mind, body and spirit. Our mission is to provide a thoroughly Christian education for boys from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12, imparting knowledge and understanding of the world we live in, and recognising the importance of spiritual qualities in every sphere of learning.

Fuelled by a pastorally aware culture with exceptionally high levels of individual student attention, we aim to know, understand and nurture each student to help him realise his potential, passion and purpose in life.

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Topics: Parenting tips, Trinity difference, Raising boys, Adolescence, Improve learning, Mental health