The old stereotype of lazy teenagers sleeping all the time and not waking up for school is a bit outdated. In today’s world, many teens have a dawn ’til midnight schedule that is jam packed: pre-school workouts with the team, after school practices, driver’s ed., part-time jobs, youth group, community service, college visits, watching younger siblings, and much more! Research shows that teenagers need 8 1/2 to 9 1/4 hours of sleep each night to function at their best. One study showed that only 15% of teens reported sleeping 8 1/2 hours on most school nights. Changing sleep patterns also impact the quality of sleep. Staying up super late on weekends, sleeping in, then going back to the school night schedule leads to further loss of energy.
Not getting enough sleep will limit their ability to learn, listen, concentrate, and solve problems. It contributes to acne and skin problems. It leads to aggressive and other inappropriate behavior. It can also cause teens to eat too much or more unhealthy foods that lead to weight gain.
God designed our bodies to thrive on a healthy cycle of waking, working, and resting. Not only did God create a day of rest, but Scripture talks about rest in a number of places, indicating a time of peace from labor, worry, war, etc. It is simply not good for us to be constantly in motion and activity.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Psalm 4:8 (ESV)
Because their bodies and minds are still growing and forming, teenagers need more sleep to be at their best. Maybe we need to prod them into bed more often, instead of fighting to get them out of bed!
P.S. The blog titles and main ideas come from Walt Mueller;s book 99 Thoughts for Parents of Teenagers. I add my own thoughts and Scripture.