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Wednesday
Nov032010

Sleep disorders happen to every age group.

Sleep disorders happen in every age group.  Unfortunately, sleep disorders in teens have become more common than most people realize.  Most teens are sleep deprived even if they do not suffer from a sleep disorder.  This has sparked a need to promote sleep awareness among teens, parents and teachers. 

According to one study only 20% of adolescents get the recommended 9 hours of sleep on school nights.  The typical teenager sleeps an average of 7.5 hours or less on school nights.  This adds up to over a 7.5 hour sleep deficit in just 5 days.  This sleep debt continues to grow on a daily basis taking a toll on overall health as well as other areas of life including behavior, academic performance, concentration, and coping skills.  This same study showed that 90% of parents felt that their children get enough sleep on school nights.  As parents, we need to heighten our awareness to this growing epidemic.  We need to realize that sleep deprivation is a threat to our young ones and should not be viewed as a normal part of growing up.  We need to be proactive, taking the time to talk to our children about the importance of sleep and helping them to develop good sleep habits.  Early intervention is so important considering the consequences of sleep deprivation and that sleep problems in childhood tend to carry over into adulthood.

KidsHealth.org has a great article on teen sleep disorders including sleep apnea.  Here is a small excerpt:

During adolescence, the body's circadian rhythm (sort of like an internal biological clock) is reset, telling a teen to fall asleep later at night and wake up later in the morning. This change in the circadian rhythm seems to be due to the fact that the brain hormone melatonin is produced later at night in teens than it is for kids and adults, making it harder for teens to fall asleep. Sometimes this delay in the sleep-wake cycle is so severe that it affects a person's daily functioning. In those cases it's called delayed sleep phase syndrome.

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