Teenagers are typically big sleepers who prefer going to bed late and waking up late. However, because they have to wake up early for school on weekdays and this is in direct conflict with natural sleep patterns, many tend to sleep in late on weekends to catch-up on their Zzzs. But this habit of sleeping in seems to have a negative impact on their attention capacity, consequently affecting school grades.
According to researchers from Brown University in the United States, teenagers who sleep late on Saturday and Sunday mornings disrupt their internal clock. These two days of sleeping in would in fact be enough for the brain to perceive that the waking signal should also be later the following morning. Therefore, when the alarm clock goes off on Monday morning, these youths find getting up much more difficult and are less alert. According to the researchers, it is a little bit as if they were suffering from jetlag but without the actual plane ride.
Here are a few suggestions to help your teenagers be more efficient and alert at school.
- Establishing a sleep routine and respecting it every night - that is to say going to sleep and waking up at the same time even on weekends and school holidays;
- Dividing the workload sensibly - to avoid having to delay bedtime to get homework finished;
- Not doing any activities once in bed – there should be no reading, writing, watching television, talking on the telephone, etc.;
- Not eating right before going to bed – no snacking before bedtime;
- Avoiding caffeinated drinks, especially at night - including colas and other drinks.
Both the quality and quantity of sleep are important in ensuring good performance throughout the day. However, not everyone needs eight hours of sleep every night! The most important thing to remember is that developing a sleep routine and sticking to it as much as possible has a direct impact on feeling alert and being ready to face the day!