From Jazzercise, Inc.
(CARLSBAD, CA) -- Awake past midnight and asleep until noon -- if your teenager's sleeping habits are a point of tension, take heart. According to the National Sleep Foundation, older teens are physiologically driven to fall asleep later in the evening and wake up later in the morning.
Furthermore, teens need more sleep than their younger siblings or parents -- at least nine hours per night is recommended. Unfortunately, most school schedules don't accommodate these natural circadian rhythms, and the result is a large population of sleep deprived students.
Because inadequate sleep has been linked to learning difficulties, behavioral problems, unsafe driving and an increase in work-related accidents, the issue has captured the attention of U.S. lawmakers who have introduced legislation to instigate a change in classroom hours.
But, until laws are passed, parents are encouraged to step in and guide their teens toward better sleeping habits. Here are some tips:
Make nine the magic number. Keeping in mind when he/she must rise, determine when your teen must be in bed in order to get nine hours of sleep. Do your best to adhere to that schedule.
If your child has a job, limit his/her work hours to less than 20 per week.
Encourage your teen to go to bed at approximately the same time each evening. He/She will find it easier to fall asleep and to wake up on time in the morning.
Limit caffeine, both during the day and at night. The popularity of coffee houses has influenced caffeine consumption among teens.
Exercise regularly. When timed appropriately (at least four hours before bedtime), exercise enhances sleep. If sports aren't your child's cup of tea, try dance lessons, martial arts, strength training or exercise classes. Most teens like to dance, and many dance exercise classes incorporate the latest music and steps in each workout. Or, you can turn up the radio at home and experiment with the following steps, combining them with other movements for a workout of at least 20 minutes.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, knees and toes pointing forward. Plie (bend your knees slightly). Lift one knee, but instead of hopping as you would in a traditional aerobic dance move, stay low and lift your hip slightly as you turn your shoulders and head toward your leg. Step back to the center position, then repeat the movements on the opposite side. Repeat four to eight times before alternating this step with other movements. Remember to engage your abdominal muscles, relax your shoulders and stretch your spine tall as you dance, and always begin your workouts with at least five minutes of gradual warm-up.
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