Study: Teens Who Sleep Less Have More Academic and Emotional Distress

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 11/15/2013 | 10:15 AM EST

Get your teenager in bed-- their future depends on it

A recent national study concluded that teens that go to sleep late on school nights are more likely to experience academic and emotional problems than their peers who go to sleep earlier.

The finding was the result of a study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, who also found that teens who went to bed later than 11:30 p.m. on school nights and 1:30 a.m. in the summer had lower GPAs than teens who went to bed earlier.

The Journal of Adolescent Health study included 2,700 teens, 30 percent of who said they stayed up late at night. The subjects’ lack of sleep was closely linked with their performance in the classroom and their emotional wellbeing. Teens who went to bed late and got less sleep had worse educational outcomes than their peers, and higher emotional stress.

As a result, researchers recommend that parents monitor their teens’ bedtime, and if they notice unhealthy sleeping patterns, to implement intervention strategies that “target bedtimes in an effort to reduce associated functional impairments, and improve academic and emotional outcomes,” the study reads.

If you’re the parent of an adolescent, be sure to pay closer attention to your child to ensure that he or she is getting proper sleep. It could pay off in the long haul. While kids will be kids, and often enjoy staying up late at night to watch television or talk with friends, stressing the importance of proper sleep can reap great benefits for them. Though they may not be so receptive, as teens can be stubborn and resistant, do your best at communicating the harm it could do.

If you notice that your teen stays up late at night trying to finish schoolwork, try to help them or get them tutoring. If your child is staying up late to talk on the phone, text or watch TV, consider taking away their mobile and television privileges. While they may hate you for the moment, it’s for their benefit, and sometimes parents have to be the bad guys.

And parents, you need your Zzzzs too! Check out the professional benefits of sleep and ways to get a peaceful seven hours.

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