We all know that young minds are impressionable. But apparently impressions only stick after some deep REM sleep. New evidence suggests that the largely unknown, reparative stage is critical for brain development, as that's when a child's experiences are transformed into memories and abilities.
The assumption is that the teenagers are falling asleep because they are bored or disinterested in the class. Was elementary school more exciting than high school? No, that is not the reason. It is a misconception that boredom causes sleepiness. Boredom just unmasks sleep deprivation.
Biological changes are an important part of the teen-sleep picture, but they don't tell the whole story. Combined with these biological shifts are environmental and lifestyle factors that also can interfere with teens' sleep.
Researchers found that opting to delay bedtime in favor of studying was linked to an increased risk of both types of academic difficulty. And this was true regardless of the total amount of students' study time.
Our hope is that by understanding the scientific record and context beyond these two recent splashes in the literature, the pediatric sleep community's service to parents and health professionals can be restored.
Most teens are not getting enough sleep, and their lack of sufficient sleep is being associated with a whole series of risky, unhealthy behaviors, from smoking and drinking to sexual activity and over-eating.