High-flying teenagers in SW19 may be suffering from lack of sleep.
They could aim still higher with less pain if they had enough sleep to meet their needs. That is the expert consensus among doctors, psychologists and teachers shocked by the upsurge in young people and children attending hospital with sleep difficulties.
SW19 Teens’ Sleep Works to A Different Rhythm
While doctors point out that sleep deprived teenagers already battle with hormonal changes that put early school starts in conflict with the circadian rhythms of 15-22 year olds, in prosperous Wimbledon they also face a crammed schedule of voluntary/ extra-curricular activities, and even paid work. Uni admission tutors and employers alike look for evidence that prospective candidates lead full-on lives.
Many London youngsters yawn their way through lessons. One student I know – always pale and heavy-eyed, could not be roused in time to take a crucial GCSE. It was our worst nightmare, and we saw it coming!
Younger children are also victims of the so-called epidemic of sleep deprivation (Gone are the days when gurus hinted that “gifted” kids needed minimal sleep.)
For “Lack of sleep blights pupils education,” thunders the BBC’s Education correspondent Sean Coughlan.
He quotes Derk-Jan Dijk, director of the Sleep Research Centre at the University of Surrey. “Lack of sleep is also a serious physical barrier to learning.”
Teachers in all affluent countries complain they have had to dumb down lessons to suit the youngsters who didn’t get enough sleep. So the whole class can be affected, not just the dozy ones.
Have you seen the lap top ad aimed at students who want to sleep while the computer takes Maths lecture notes?
This is technology solving a problem it may be helping to create. Because the blue light emitted from mobile phones, tablets, fancy clocks, computers, if kept in a bedroom do really and truly stop you from wanting to sleep.
More than 80 percent of British children have a phone before they are 12 now. And they use it in the hour before bed.More worryingly still, some teenagers and young adults are addicted to games and don’t even notice they have played from dusk til dawn.
Although some highly qualified researchers are warning that long-term sleep deprivation will cause permanent damage, they admit that harmful effects can often be reversed.
What Could Help?
Younger teens can be guided to:
- Have a healthy snack before turning in,Hunger stops you dropping off.
- Having a screen-free hour before bed, (No Facebook!)
- Avoiding caffeinated drinks
- keeping their bed as a venue for rest only, not an all-purpose leisure centre. Oddly enough, a tidy -ish bedroom helps. Reading yourself to sleep is easier with paper print than screen.
- Music can help. A recent study reported that people who play calm music for 45 minutes before bedtime drift off sooner and sleep longer than those who try to fall asleep in silence.
- You … gently probing to see if school work is a worry. Anxiety can icause insomnia. If so Contact Me
Older teens are less likely to take instructions, so discuss the issues. Lack of sleep is linked with obesity, for example. A regular wake-up time and exercise help you to feel sleepy at a normal bedtime. Show that you’re following your own advice. You won’t be checking your ipad at midnight if they won’t! Check out www.youngminds.org.uk/Sleep