2 Your Health: Should parents let teenagers sleep in during summer break?

Teens need adequate sleep to avoid health consequences

Credit: CNN

Summer break is here and many teenagers are enjoying the luxury of sleeping in late.

But should parents let them?

Get them up or let them sleep?

Harneet Walia, M.D., a sleep expert at Cleveland Clinic, said parents often wonder if they should wake their sleeping teen or let them sleep in as late as they wish.

She said the correct answer lies somewhere in between.

“There should be a fine line,” said Dr. Walia. “They should just be allowed maybe one to two hours of extra sleep that they could go to bed later in the night and wake up later in the morning, but at the same time, they cannot be waking up at noon or so, because it will become very difficult to get back on track when the school starts back.”

Signs of sleep deprivation

According to Dr. Walia, teenagers require more sleep than the average adult, usually between nine to nine and a half hours per night.

She said many teens suffer from sleep deprivation and it’s important for parents to know what the signs and symptoms are, because it can have negative health consequences for the teen.

Signs of sleep deprivation include:

  • Irritability
  • Impaired concentration
  • Difficulty staying awake
  • Difficulty focusing

Another concern for sleep deprived teens is the safety hazard that exits when a sleepy teen gets behind the wheel of an automobile.

Dr. Walia said teens who don’t get enough shut-eye are more prone to micro-lapses while driving, which can lead to more accidents.

Turn off the electronics

To help teens get an adequate amount of sleep, Dr. Walia recommends keeping tabs on their sleep habits by making sure their electronics are not keeping them up too late at night.

“There should be an electronic time curfew,” said Dr. Walia. “The kids should not be allowed to have electronics 30 to 45 minutes before their bedtime because the light from the electronics can really disrupt the sleep; it can prevent them from having a good night’s sleep also.”

 

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