A surprising fact: Lack of sleep makes it hard to focus while driving. This may be one reason why so many teenagers are killed in traffic accidents each year. If you want to live to see your graduation, you might want to get a few extra zzz’s.
Shocking news: Lack of sleep causes depression and anxiety. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for children 10-14 and the second leading cause of death for people 15-34. If you add these numbers to the leading cause of death of teenagers, traffic accidents, you can see lack of sleep is quite dangerous, and not just an annoyance to your teachers.
One year, four of my eleventh grade students came to me all smiles. They had a story to tell. I had tried to convince all my students to eat a healthy breakfast each day and to sleep about nine hours each night. They ignored me. But together, as a group, these kids thought they would give it a try over the three weeks of Winter Break. They did everything else as usual, but followed my advice about breakfast and sleep. When they came back, they were shocked to report I was right. One boy said the bags under his eyes (which he had for years) were gone. Another student said her skin cleared up. They all felt better and planned on sleeping at least nine hours each night and eating a healthy breakfast each morning. Surprise, surprise.
If you’re a teenager, then figure out what time you need to get up each morning to get ready for school (including time to eat breakfast). Then count backwards nine hours. Make this your new bedtime. One hour before that time, turn off your electronics. Thirty minutes later start getting ready for bed. Go to sleep at the same time each night, even on weekends. Your body will thank you. Your brain will reward you with more understanding, your grades will go up, and you’ll feel better about life. It’s all good news. Your social life will not be damaged.
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