Sleep-deprived Teens Engage in Risky Behaviors

Now that school is back in swing, and your teen can’t stay buried under the covers until noon like he might have during the holiday break, is he getting enough sleep?  A study of 12,000 teens by the Center for Disease Control found that 7o% of young people are not getting the sleep they need to face the challenges and temptations that come their way .  Lack of sleep negatively affects the prefrontal cortex, which in teens is still developing; this is the part of the brain that helps in making good judgments.  So teens who are sleep-deprived are not just at risk of performing more poorly in school, they are also more likely to engage in sexual activity and use cigarettes, alcohol or drugs.  They were also more likely to report being depressed or suicidal.  The takeaway is that they MUST get more sleep; it’s not just important to their performance in school, but in life.  The ABC report on this study also gives some great suggestions on helping your kids get a good night’s sleep, bettering their chances of having a better life.