Student Wellbeing

The Importance of Sleep

How much sleep do you think you are getting a night? Eight hours? Maybe nine if you’re lucky?

Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but generally, studies have found that we are likely to overestimate how long we sleep for. Which means for those of you who are thinking we are only getting six to seven hours a night, it’s highly probable that it is much lower than that!

 

Adolescence is a critical period of development, and it is generally during their sleep cycle that a lot of these changes are occurring. Among many other things, their growth hormone, somatotropin, is being excreted into their bodies and their Prefrontal Cortex, which is the last part of the brain to develop and provides boys with such functions as impulse control, problem solving and emotion regulation, is undergoing critical advances.

 

There are many factors influencing sleep, some more relevant to adolescents such as; the impact of electronic media and the naturally occurring circadian rhythm change during this period. Poor sleep has been implicated in the development of mental health disorders, increases the chance of boys engaging in impulsive and risk-taking behaviours (such as alcohol and drug use), and has also been linked to obesity.

 

There are many things we can do to create good sleep habits within ourselves and our sons. Don’t be afraid of being the ‘only’ parent to not allow your child to have their phone in their room overnight. Buy an alarm clock, remove the temptation, and enjoy your more rested, rational child.

 

School TV has great information on how to facilitate this change, see the following link for more information: School TV - Sleep

 

Teagan Gmeiner & Leanne Watson

School Psychologists