In a recent health study on teens, a lack of sleep continues to be one of our society's major health concerns. This latest study, according to the Case School of Medicine, links a lack of sleep in teens ages 13-16 to a greater risk of hypertension. Teens who slept fewer than 6 1/2 hours a night had more than twice the risk of high blood pressure and those with troubled sleep had more than triple the risk. High blood pressure can damage arteries and kidneys, causing stroke, kidney disease and other illnesses. Dr. Susan Redline stated, "Part of the problem is the technological invasion of the bedroom with computers, cell phones and music,". This study recommends a minimum of 9 hours of sleep each night for teens of this age, which is right in line with the other studies I've seen.
How long are we going to ignore this problem? What could our motive possibly be for allowing our children to suffer like this? Personally, I'm amazed at the number of families I know who's children are up until 10:30 or 11:00 at night during the school year. And we wonder why our test scores are down in our country. We must take steps to reverse this and other unhealthy trends in America.
Here are a few ideas to help you provide optimum sleep care for your teens.
-Don't let your kids eat late at night. Their bodies won't rest as well when they're spending energy digesting food.
-Don't let your kids use the telephone, mp3 player, hand-held video game system, or do homework right before bed. This stimulation only postpones going to sleep it doesn't promote it.
-Do spend time conversing with your children after school or at the dinner table. This provides them with the opportunity to express and process their stresses and fears so they won't take them to bed at night.
-Do establish a consistent bedtime. The human body can be trained by repeating patterned behavior.
-Do encourage your children to wind-down with meditation or prayer before bed. These behaviors will help clear their minds of clutter.
Our job as a parent isn't about being our kids best friend. Our focus should be on equipping them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually for their future. Sending our children into adulthood stressed out, obese, and socially inept is like sending a 6th grader to college. They would have little to no chance of success because they haven’t completed their foundational training.
Children need and like boundaries even though they are constantly challenging them. It provides the stability they need.