How much do you value your sleep?

How much do you value your sleep? One way to tell is by thinking about what you would forgo sleep for.

There are the significant things like attending a long awaited concert or a birthday party, but then there are the smaller every day things like that next episode on TV, spending time with your family, doing school work because you procrastinated earlier in the evening, or catching up on household chores.

Children and teenagers value sleep even less than adults.  My 7 year old son, for example, thinks that sleep is the most BORING thing you could ever do and I think he equates it to some form of torture (given the drama we sometimes go through at bed time!).

I also often hear high school students lining up for a test or standing bleary eyed at the printer talking with each other about just how little sleep they had, because they hadn’t finished their assignment earlier…or was that just me and my friends back when I was in high school?

Recent research shows that about 70% of teenagers are chronically sleep deprived, but a majority of those aren’t aware of it and don’t consider it to be a problem.

Did you know, that many NBA teams employ sleep coaches? Several points of research have indicated that their players significantly improve most facets of their performance if they are able to get more sleep.  One source I read even goes as far as saying that regularly getting one hour of sleep more can add more than $1.6 million to a player’s contract.

Good sleep for us ordinary folk can lead to improved resilience, improved learning, better sporting abilities, better moods, healthier diets and weight and significantly higher levels of happiness.

For those studying, it’s not the smartest 10% that get the highest marks, it’s the students who get an average of 40 minutes more sleep than their peers that achieve the top 10% of marks. 

So what can you do to improve your sleep? Here are some of the tips given by Dr Seton at the Youth Mental Health Seminars attended by Years 10 and 11 last week:

  • Make sleep a priority, don’t give it up for just any old thing.
  • Set the room up to be conducive to sleep.
  • Don’t use devices or play games on the bed, as it trains your brain to respond to the bedroom as a place to be social and do cognitively rewarding activities, rather than a place to relax and sleep.
  • Charge your phone/devices outside the bedroom.
  • Have a relaxing routine before bed time, that winds your brain down to get ready for sleep.
  • Set an achievable bed time.
  • Take advantage of Daylight Savings ending to reset your sleep pattern, and get to bed earlier.

Seeing the impacts of improved sleep won’t happen overnight (sorry, couldn’t resist!). Dr Seton recommends that you need to stick to your changes for four weeks for it to be effective, but after that it should be easier to maintain and to repair if you do have an odd night out of routine.

For more information about the differences between teenage sleep and adult’s sleep, and the impact of sleep deprivation on the teenage brain go to:

I hope you have a good night (sleep!)