Our children in Raleigh, NC, aren’t getting enough sleep. It’s an epidemic that first hit the adult population and now has invaded the young. It’s especially important for the student athlete or physically active young person that wants to succeed in their sport and is often the key to a winning performance. When you sleep, part of the brain and body is extremely active and the jobs done during REM sleep makes a difference both mentally and physically.
A recent poll found that 87% of America’s teens are sleep deprived.
There’s a lot of reasons teens are sleep deprived. Sometimes, it’s just the schedule. As teens move through puberty, their circadian clock makes a shift and they get sleepier later. Since school starts just as early and they can’t get the sleep they need. Smart-phones and electronic devices play a role, too. Making your child put down his or her smart phone an hour before bed ensures they’ll get approximately 21 more minutes of sleep. The busy life schedule with sports, social commitments and even the internet can keep a teen awake. Too much light in the bedroom from TV, cell phones and computers reduce the amount of melatonin, the sleep chemical in the brain. Even the attitude toward sleep, where being active is valued higher than sleeping and some sleep disorders can add to a cycle where the lack of sleep causes the teen to be more active and less apt to fall asleep.
Both young children and teens suffer when they’re sleep deprived.
You can understand how children or teens might have a difficult time waking up in the morning when they’re sleep deprived and probably already know they’re prone to hyperactivity and a short attention span. There’s a noted lack of coordination and clumsiness, which isn’t good for the student athlete. If you notice your child has more frequent colds and infections or problems with memory, anxiety or depression he or she could be sleep deprived. Many of the same symptoms are true in teens, but add to that poor decision-making, risk-taking behavior and slower reflexes.
The performance of teen athletes also suffers.
Whether it’s trying to decide whether to run with the ball or pass or focusing on the direction of the tennis ball, lack of sleep can jeopardize the performance on and off the field of a student athlete. One study shows that it definitely affected the ability to make split-second decisions. Lack of sleep also can slow post-game recovery time by decreasing the production, contribute to low energy and production of glycogen and affect speed, accuracy and endurance.
- Adequate sleep is just as important as working out and healthy eating for the student athlete.
- Studies show that teens may need even more sleep than younger children, whose requirements average 9 hours and 15 minutes a night, even though maturity allows their body and mind to remain alert later into the night.
- Sports greats Serena Williams and Lance Armstrong both focus on getting more sleep. Armstrong endorses it on his website and Williams notes she goes to bed at around 7 p.m.
- At Evolution Lifestyle Fitness we can help get your student athlete ready for the peak performance.