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Teens Need More Dreatime

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« on: December 17, 2008, 10:30:32 am »
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Teens need more dreamtime
August 10, 2008
Katie Wood has been sleeping well after cutting down her study hours and avoiding doing yoga before bed. Photo: Rodger Cummins
KATIE Wood used to lie awake trying to force herself to sleep. She would worry about the sleep she was not getting. An International Baccalaureate student at Carey Grammar, Katie was anxious about her self-imposed 40 hours of study a week, her school musical and her singing exams. She was "getting by" on about four hours a night.

But her body was telling her it needed more: "I lost a lot of weight and I got sick with a cold and my eye started to twitch — it was such a joke."

She sought help through Melbourne sleep expert David Morawetz's program, which sets out rules for sleeping: go to bed when you are tired, wake up at the same time every day for school, sleep in only one hour on weekends and get some sunlight in the morning. Study and exercise before bed are out.

Katie, 18, now falls asleep within half an hour of bedtime and regularly gets seven hours of solid sleep a night. She has cut 10 hours of study from her schedule and has stopped doing yoga and study before bed.

Her grades have not suffered, and her health has improved.

Dr Morawetz has trained 480 psychologists in using his sleep program. He believes sleep problems often begin with a worrying incident, but he also blames the adolescent party culture of sleeping in on weekends. This means that when Monday rolls around, youths' body clocks are out of rhythm and they find it hard to return to their weekday schedule.

Too little sleep is emerging as an issue for schools and educators: from the effect sleep has on study to whether school start times are at odds with the teenage body.

Many teenage sleep problems stem from changes to the body's circadian rhythm, or body clock, during the late teens.

During this time the sleep hormone, melatonin, kicks in much later for teenagers, affecting their ability to fall asleep, but also affecting their ability to wake again.

A new Flinders University study has found that adolescents who get less than eight hours of sleep do not perform as well at memory tasks such as dictation and multi-step mathematics.

Michael Gradisar, who heads the Flinders University Child and Adolescent Sleep Clinic, said the study found that children who were getting fewer than eight hours' sleep a night were able to perform less than two-thirds of the tasks, whereas children who had slept for eight or nine hours were able to complete 80% of the tasks.

"It is almost as if kids without enough sleep don't have enough memory capacity to store that much information," he said.

Two prominent Melbourne psychologists, Michael Carr-Gregg and Andrew Fuller, both argue that school start times are at odds with teenagers' natural body clocks, and school should start later. Dr Carr-Gregg said the school day had for too long revolved around what was good for parents, teachers and bus companies.

Some US schools, which start earlier than Australian schools, have trialled later start times, he said, and found student attendance and behaviour improved. In New Zealand, some schools have given students an option of a "glide time", which allows them to attend school at later times.

"I feel there is a complete failure to address this issue and it is a nationwide issue," Dr Carr-Gregg said. "The state, independent and Catholic sectors are not dealing with it."

The convener of clinical psychology at Swinburne University, Greg Murray, also argues the case for later start times, but says they must be coupled with a good night's sleep. His research has confirmed that many teenagers suffer from a sleep debt each week, and they need more than nine hours each night to function well.

But Margot Davey, director of the Melbourne Children's Sleep Unit at Monash Medical Centre, said it was too simplistic to start school later.

"You need to look at the whole lifestyle of the individual: are they getting enough light in the morning? Are they eating a morning meal? These are all indicators to the body of the waking cycle," Dr Davey said.

Two years ago, Berengarra School, an independent school for teenagers with social and emotional issues, changed the start of the school day to 9.40am.

According to principal Mark Heuston, before the change up to a half of all "time-outs" for behavioural problems occurred in the first two morning periods when students were waking up.

Now just 21% of time-outs occur during those two periods and they have dropped overall by about 30%.


Signs of too little sleep or sleeping problems:

■Trouble falling asleep.

■Trouble waking up.

■Yawning during the day.

■Low concentration.

■Snoring and snuffling.

Too little sleep affects:■Concentration levels.

■Ability to take dictation and do multi-step maths.

■Driving — 24 hours without sleep is equal to a .05 blood alcohol reading.

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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2008, 10:32:42 am »
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Children need more sleep: study
By Dani Cooper for ABC Science Online

Posted Thu Oct 2, 2008 9:19am AEST

Researchers say Australian parents may need help in setting bedtime rules for children. (File photo) (Getty Images: Peter Macdiarmid)

Bob Geldof was right - we don't like Mondays - and Australian researchers believe they have found the reason why.

The biggest study of Australian children's sleep patterns has found most teenagers start the week with a sleep deficit that gets bigger as the week progresses.

Professor Tim Olds, from the University of South Australia, is presenting his research at this week's Australasian Sleep Association Conference.

Professor Olds believes Australian parents may need help in setting bedtime rules for their children.

He says the study looked at the association between sleep and factors such as age, sex and household income, type of day, and weight.

It included 4,033 children aged nine to 18 years, who reported the time they fell asleep and woke over a combined total of 9,053 individual nights.

Days were categorised into four types, including bed on a non-school day and wake on a school day (NS-S), bed on a school day and wake on a school day, bed on school day and wake on a non-school day, bed on a non-school day and wake on a non-school day (NS-NS).

He says the participants reported their activities in time slices as fine as five minutes.

Professor Olds says the study found that adolescents sleep least on the Sunday to Monday night (NS-S) at 553 minutes, and most on non-school-non-school nights (Saturdays and holidays) at 603 minutes.

Starting on empty

The survey found that older children woke up five to six minutes later than average on Monday and were already in deficit with the time they needed to sleep.

"We go to bed late on a Friday and Saturday and don't want to leave the weekend behind [by going to bed late on a Sunday]," Professor said.

He says this means adolescents are starting the week in sleep deficit.

"We suspect it has bad consequences," he said, pointing to studies that show sleep deprivation is associated with impaired immune function and psychological problems such as memory and attention deficits.

Professor Olds says the "norm" for sleep time decreases as children grow up.

On average, nine-year-olds sleep between 10 and 10.5 hours per night.

This decreases by about nine minutes per night with each year of age, until they reach the age of 18 years.

But Professor Olds says the decrease in sleep time was greater on school-school (S-S) and non-school to school (NS-S) nights averaging 15-16 minutes per night per year.

He says this suggests the older teenagers are staying up later, but still having to wake at the same time for school.

They do not make up for the sleep lost until Saturday night.

"There is a lot of evidence that children are sleep deprived during the school week," he said.

Parental guidelines

However he says a Korean study showed the difference between school and non-school nights was even more extreme.

During the school week, schooling pressures meant an average Korean 18-year-old slept a mere 4.5 hours' night.

However on non-school nights they slept more than half the day averaging 13.5 hours' sleep.

The study also found that children from higher socio-economic households sleep more, a trend Professor Olds says may be connected to a household's ability to enforce rules and regulations.

As part of the study he says they revisited a number of schools that had participated in a 1985 study and asked the same aged children to report their sleep times.

They found on average Australian children are sleeping 30 minutes less than their peers did in 1985.

"It's entirely down to a later bed time," he said.

He says the findings should be used to issue guidelines to parents on recommended sleep times.

"We need to give parents an idea about how much sleep is reasonable," he said.

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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2008, 10:19:51 am »
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where i live they stagger the times of when the schools start so that busing can accommodate everyone.  it is also a division I district(large).  the thing is is(lol) they have the jr high and high school kids starting at the crack of dawn-7ish and ending shortly after 2 and staggers hourly from there(4/5 8-3, 2/3-8:30-3:30.....-4:15...etc.

i thought why wake up the older ones when the younger ones were usually up at ungodly hours and was told .....

-teens have more homework and need the xtra hours
-many have part time jobs after school
-can be home at this time at age while parents are still at work


i agree w/ the points of this article but what parent has succeeded in making their teenager go to bed at let say pm?.....
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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2008, 07:05:51 pm »
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What this is about is the biology of teens. The biology of growing into adults.

When little kids go to bed and get up at ungodly hours, it is because they go to bed early, lets say, directly after dinner and a bath, say 7.00 pm and sleep through to 6 am. They have a lot of growing to do. Well so do teens, especially the boys according to these recent “discoveries”. They have to grow into big men. Apparently, it only lasts a few years and then normal sleeping hours apply, like the old 8 hrs a night is fine to get by on.

I don’t know about American children but when I was going back to high school in the early 1990’s before attending college, I had far, far too much homework to do. I did it and loved it but then that was what I wanted to do in the first place. But I thought at the time, “OMG, this is too much work for kids.”

You probably can’t uniform and blanket this problem into a real solution other than to be aware there is a problem of lack of sleep.

One thing about my son was when I said, “Go to bed Kane’…he went straight away. Any visitors were totally shocked that he obeyed me straight away with no arguments EVER at all.

When he and I were living by ourselves before I married Kurt, Kane would stay up twice a week and watch “Prisoner” with me in my warm, water bed. I feel I did the right thing NOT enforcing a strict bedtime. He went to bed 5 nights at 8:30 no arguments and twice stayed up for an extra hour on “Prisoner” hour….[Cell Block H].

I love sleeping and so did Kane. That is where I dream. My grandmother would always talk about dreams and dreaming when we were growing up so sleeping wasn’t this chore everyone had to do but rather something fun to look forward to. She used to say it was her second life and in actual fact, it is everyone’s second life. There you go, we get two lives for the price of one, don’t we?..lol

I have cured many parents children of their sleeping problems by relating that very subject to them. At least that is one area I can assist in…lol
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« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2008, 09:01:33 pm »
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I'm a sleepyhead.
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« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2008, 10:34:00 am »
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My son stays up all night and then sleeps all day.

I pretty much do the same thing at the moment.

Sometimes I think sleep is a waste of time.

Other times I want to sleep as long as I can.

I think regular sleep is important.  But I still don't practice what I preach.

I stay up all night and sleep in the daytime, or not at all.
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« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2008, 10:52:20 am »
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Then when your son becomes of working age, you better point him in the direction of an all night job.

It probably isn't a good idea for your son to do that.

He needs daylight for his bone health.
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