The healing power of a good night's sleep

REST ASSURED: Studies show too much technology before bed time can interfere with sleep patterns and heighten anxiety. Picture: Shutterstock
REST ASSURED: Studies show too much technology before bed time can interfere with sleep patterns and heighten anxiety. Picture: Shutterstock

GOOD quality sleep is usually associated with improved concentration, memory and learning. However many parents may be struggling to enforce healthy sleep routines.

According to sleep researcher Dr Julia Stone the struggle may be even more significant for teens, who tend to have later and less regular sleep patterns than adults or younger children.

"Teens naturally experience a delay in their internal body clocks, which can lead to later bedtimes and difficulty getting up in the morning," Dr Stone said.

"This may be further exacerbated in teens transitioning to high school."

Dr Stone recommends prioritising a sleep routine which encourages regular sleep times.

She also suggests placing boundaries around the use of light-emitting devices, social media, and gaming into the late night, all of which have the potential to delay and disrupt sleep.

"Sleep deprivation can lead to problems such as irritability, fatigue, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, impaired school performance, stress, anxiety and even depression," she said.

According to Dr Stone, optimal timing and duration of sleep can be important in protecting teens from depression and other health problems.

"Avoiding delays for bedtime over the weekend and reducing caffeine consumption (including caffeinated soft drinks), particularly later in the day, are some ways to help improve sleep during the school term," Dr Stone said.

"You should also consider your sleeping environment."

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