The importance of sleep for teenagers

JoAnn Deak, PhD Psychologist & Author, explains why it is crucial for teenagers to get enough sleep more so than any other period in their lives, and how much sleep is necessary
The Importance Of Sleep For Teenagers
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The importance of sleep for teenagers

The sleep research is one of the hottest areas, and parents often wonder what happened to their child after they move into adolescence. We see differences in childhood and adolescence. Childhood is birth to 10ish; adolescence is 10ish to 20ish. What happens during adolescence is -- You're going to be so surprised -- there's a surge of hormones. These surges of hormones have an amphetamine type effect on the pinneal gland of the brain. A tiny, little pea-sized gland that produces melatonin and causes you to be drowsy. As you move into adolescence with these surges of hormones, the pinneal gland is actually suppressed for a couple of hours. So adolescent's, even though they could earlier in life, they can't fall into that good until about 11:00 p.m. or midnight. All the research shows, that because of the huge growth going on, they need to be able to sleep about nine hours. No adolescent should be made to wake up before 9:00 a.m. We've been begging schools to do this forever. The problem is, the whole world's designed around early wake up and drop off. Any time you wake up a teenager before 9:00 a.m., you are going against their neurobiologic clock, and you will have a hard time doing it.
TEEN, Health and Development, Sleep

JoAnn Deak, PhD Psychologist & Author, explains why it is crucial for teenagers to get enough sleep more so than any other period in their lives, and how much sleep is necessary


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JoAnn Deak, PhD

Psychologist & Author

JoAnn Deak, PhD, has spent more than 30 years as an educator and psychologist, helping children develop into confident and competent adults. The latter half of that period has also focused on working with adults, parents and teachers in their roles as guides or ‘neurosculptors’ of children. On her website is a quote that best describes her perspective on her work: “every interaction a child has, during the course of a day, influences the adult that child will become.”

Parents and educators at schools from New York to Hawaii, as well as such organizations as the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Independent Schools, the Association of International Schools, the American Montessori Society and the International Baccalaureate Association, have heralded Dr. Deak’s ability to demystify complex issues of child development, learning, identify formation and brain research.

Dr. Deak has been an advisor to Outward Bound, a past chair of the National Committee for Girls and Women in Independent Schools, on the advisory board for the Center on Research for Girls (Laurel School), for the Seattle Girls’ School, Bromley Brook School, the Red Oak School, Power Play and GOAL. She consults with organizations and schools across the United States. Most recently, she has worked internationally with schools, organizations, associations and parent groups in every continent (except Antarctica!) She has been awarded the Woman of Achievement Award by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, was given the first Female Educator of the Year Award by Orchard House School, and the Outstanding Partner for Girls Award from Clemson University. She has been named the Visiting Scholar in New Zealand, the Visiting Scholar for Montessori Children’s House and has been the Resident Scholar for the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute in Colorado Springs for the past five years.

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