Teens who stay up late during the school year are more likely to have problems in school, according to a recent study. The study compared the academic performance of these night owls with their earlier to bed peers. The teens who stayed up late during the academic year had lower overall grades than their peers.
Researchers also found that the teenagers who stayed up late were more likely to have emotional problems than their peers who went to bed earlier.
“Academic pressures, busy after-school schedules, and the desire to finally have free time at the end of the day to connect with friends on the phone or online make this problem even more challenging,” said Lauren Asarnow, lead author of the study.
“This very important study adds to the already clear evidence that youth who are night owls are at greater risk for adverse outcomes,” said UC Berkeley psychologist Allison Harvey, senior author of the paper. “Helping teens go to bed earlier may be an important pathway for reducing risk. This will not be an easy process. But here at Berkeley, our sleep coaches draw from the science of motivation, habit formation and sleep to help teens achieve earlier bedtimes.”
Researchers recommend 9 hours of sleep for teens. To improve your teen’s sleep try using dim lights and limiting the use of computers, IPads and other technology before bedtime. If your teen is having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about Melatonin.
Melatonin is a natural occurring hormone but is also available as a tablet. Some countries require a prescription and others do not. Be sure to get advice from your doctor about the right dosage as some over the counter products have a very high level of melatonin that isn’t needed.
This study is published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.