teensYou and your teen have probably been stocking up on school supplies, picking out new clothes and finalizing class schedules. But have you prepared for success this school year by getting enough sleep?

Lack of sleep means real risks for teens’ academic performance, health and well-being  

Over two-thirds of high school students in the U.S. fail to get enough sleep on school nights, according to a 2016 study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In fact, 69 percent of  students in grades 9 to 12 reported sleeping less than eight hours on an average school night.

Sleepy teens are:

  • More easily distracted and
  • Recall information more slowly.
  • Have attention, behavior and learning problems.
  • Have problems with Athletic performance.
  • More likely to be overweight and develop hypertension and diabetes
  • More  likely to experience depression with increased risk of self-harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.
  • At risk for drowsy driving accidents

When teens sleep, hormones are released that help them grow taller and develop muscles. Sleep also helps restore energy to the brain and body.

A natural shift in the timing of the body’s internal “circadian” clock occurs during puberty, causing most teens to have a biological preference for a late-night bedtime. Returning to an early morning school schedule can be a shock to the system for teens who have been free to be night owls during the summer.

Parents, caregivers play crucial role

Help your teen by modeling healthy sleep habits, promoting a consistent sleep schedule and creating a quiet sleep environment for their teens.

Additionally, setting restrictions on screen time before bed is key to helping teens get to sleep on time. Teens may be tempted to keep using their laptops, smartphones and game consoles late into the night rather than going to sleep.


As teens prepare to go back to school, they should gradually go to bed at least 15 minutes earlier each night and wake up 15 minutes earlier each morning until they are on their school schedule.

also is important that parents and local school boards work together to implement high school start times that allow teens to get the healthy sleep they need to meet their full potential.

8 to 10 Hours Per Night

This recommendation, followed a 10-month project conducted by a Pediatric Consensus Panel of 13 of the nation’s foremost sleep experts, and is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Sleep Research Society and the American Association of Sleep Technologists.


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Geraldine Jensen

Publisher and Editor of Families Online Magazine. Our experts provide warm, loving, and generous advice for you, your family and children, no matter their age -- infants, school age, 'tweens, and teenagers. Features include:Parenting, Ages and Stages of Child Development, Child Support, Cooking, Health, Children's Books, Nutrition, Christian Parenting, Relationships, Green-living, Education and School

Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
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