Tired Teenagers – Beating Their Ever Present Opponent – Fatigue

harrison-sleepy-teenager_124196230-smHonest to (St.) Pete, Kids are too tired these days, I see it every day, yet the folks that can do something about it are sleeping through the alarm clock and need to wake up and smell the caffeine our kids use to keep going.

I have blogged about sleep deprivation used by military interrogators as an improved torture technique over waterboarding to get delirious fantasy confessions from bad guys, but do we need those in authority over minors doing the same thing to good guys?  Hey, good guys matter too!

Our school kids are up too early and to bed too late, averaging about 6 hours of restless sleep which drains brain power about as fast as “white powder”.  By the time my own grandson gets home from school, athletic practice, takes a knee for a breather, eats dinner and is now ready to do all his IB homework (2+) hours, it is 9:00 PM with bed time mostly around midnight only to be up and atum at 6:00 AM. This is “Hell Week” every week, with crashing on the weekend to catch up on missed sleep that biologically cannot be caught up on. We treat our cell phones better than this, charging their batteries up 100% every night so that they work for us the next day. Our culture has gone nuts on performance but can’t get it that performance depends on SLEEP!  My 15-year-old grandson needs 8+ hours of sleep to stay alert and healthy not 6!

If super basketball champion LeBron James of the Cavaliers secret to success is sleeping 12 hours a day to recover from his strenuous training and withering schedule, DUH! there you have it. I “rest” my case. Coaches, Teachers, Principals, School Administrators, I hope you get it, sleep training is the way to win-win-win for everybody and it should be top priority. All studies show that athletic skills improve dramatically, injuries heal quicker and alertness on the field sharpens when sleep time is extended.

The same can be said for school performance, yet the kids stay up all night studying for a test, texting their buddies at 3:00AM while wearing ear phones tuned in to “rapsta noise”. Parents, where are you?

Who would have thought that the Coach of the Year is a Sleep Coach?  Get to bed, grandson!

John B. Harrison DDS, MSc

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