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ArteryHealth.org Chief Science Officer Nathalie Chevreau comments on Harvard study that highlights the negative effects of teens sleeping in on weekends.
Salt Lake City, Utah (PRWEB) February 02, 2013
Kids who make up for busy schedules during the week by sleeping in on weekends may be doing a lot more harm than good. At least, that’s what a new study from Harvard Medical School indicates.
The new data, collected by Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Dennis Rosen, M.D., reveals that an incredible 80% of teens are getting less than nine hours of sleep per weeknight. Innocently enough, the most common reason for this deficit was that extracurricular activities were delaying homework until the late evening. Even so, without the recommended amount of sleep for their age group, students will ultimately wake up groggy and less prepared for school.
While this in and of itself is cause for concern, the real problems begin when a student attempts to make up for his or her lack of sleep by sleeping in on the weekends. This causes the child’s internal clock to become more disconnected from the external clock, which can end up seriously disturbing their circadian sleep rhythm, the 24-hour schedule that our body uses to maintain itself.
According to ArteryHealth.org Chief Science Officer Nathalie Chevreau, PhD, R.D., this can put teens at serious risk.
“Basically, a child is self-inflicting several hours of jet lag on themselves by the time school rolls around Monday morning,” said Chevreau. “If the same pattern of late nights and drowsy mornings is repeated, the problem just increases week after week.”
Chevreau went on to say that repeated circadian disturbances often lead to trouble with concentration, irritability and mood changes – two things teens are already likely to struggle with.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways parents can combat this problem, which will likely only get worse as their child reaches college and young adulthood. According to the study, explaining the importance of sleep and the damage that can come from too little of it is a great place to start, but parents may need to take measures into their own hands to reach reluctant teens.
“You may find it’s easiest to just make them get up,” said Chevreau. “Make them put their alarm clock across the room instead of by the bed. Open the curtains in the morning and keep the house well lit. You’ll be surprised how much influence you can have.”
Chevreau also said that parents should try their best to discourage napping, as a child who is actually physically tired when bedtime arrives will be best able to maintain a good circadian rhythm and positive mental state.
For more information on new research and articles surrounding artery health and about maintaining a healthy heart and arteries, visit ArteryHealth.org.
ArteryHealth.org is an online compendium of research, clinical studies and articles surrounding artery health. The website, which allows visitors to keep up with new information posted through email alerts and RSS, also includes a substantial amount of information about the endothelial glycocalyx. The tiny gel-like lining of the artery walls has a significant effect on overall artery health, according to recent studies. Learn more at ArteryHealth.org, or follow updates on Twitter by ArteryHealth.org.
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