Sleep is vital for boys during the senior school years. As we all know, a lack of sleep can affect our mood, attention and performance.
Knox Grammar School
The quantity of sleep requirement changes over our lifespan. Newborns spend from 16 to 20 hours asleep each day. Between the ages of one and four, sleep time decreases to about 11 or 12 hours. This gradual decline continues through childhood, such that an adolescent boy will need about nine hours of sleep to function at his best.
Current research indicates that adolescents, on average, sleep about seven hours a night. Over time, this creates a sleep deficit which impacts functioning in a variety of areas. Sleeping less than an average of eight hours per night can lead to tiredness, lack of persistence in completing tasks, negative attitudes and lower school grades. Restoring sleep is strongly associated with a better physical, cognitive, and psychological wellbeing.
The effects of ongoing sleep deprivation include mentally ‘drifting off’ in class, shortened attention span, memory impairment, poor decision making, lack of enthusiasm, moodiness and aggression.
In some cases, lack of sleep may also lead to feelings of depression, risk-taking behaviour, slower physical reflexes/clumsiness which may result in physical injuries, reduced sporting performance, reduced academic performance and increased number of ‘sick days’ from school because of tiredness and truancy.
What can we do to help our boys achieve more and higher quality sleep?
The typical teenage brain wants to go to bed late and sleep in late the following morning, which is often hard to manage.
Try not to argue with your teenager about bedtime. Instead, discuss the issue with them, brainstorm and try to elicit from them ways to help them get the needed nine hours.
Perhaps agree on trialling some strategies for a few weeks. It will take about four weeks for a new routine to become embedded and six weeks for the benefits of good sleep to shine through; and it will be worth the effort!
Director of Wellbeing (K-12)
Other resourcesSleep Hygiene - The Centre for Clinical InterventionReachOut - Sleep
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