There could be a zombie living in your house. Your teenager!
Experts say, teens are so sleep deprived that they act like zombies, struggling to stay awake during the day, then suddenly, they have all the energy in the world to go out at night! There’s even a nickname for it: “Teen Zombie syndrome.”
So why are teens on a different sleep schedule than the rest or the world? Blame it on puberty! Experts say that hormonal changes delay the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, so, teens don’t get sleepy as early as everybody else.
Hormonal changes also make them less sensitive to morning light, the kind that wakes people up and increases alertness.
And since teens are already night owls, they’re more likely to soak up stimulating light from their computers and smart phones at night, which can delay sleep for an extra 3 hours.
The problem is, most teens are struggling to be on the same schedule as the rest of the 9 to 5 world. As a result, only 8% of them get as much sleep as they need, which is 9 hours. In fact, most teens get less than 6! But that lack of sleep decreases memory, attention span, and grades.
It also makes teens more likely to get involved in risky behavior. They also have less self-control, are more irrational, and much more emotional.
Is there a fix for this? Thanks to this research, schools in 21 states have delayed start times to allow teens to sleep longer. And even starting school one-hour later leads to an increase in students' math and reading scores.
But if your kid still has to get to school by 8 a.m., tell them this: Getting more sleep will help keep their skin clear, and help them avoid weight gain. Those facts have been proven to motivate teens to gradually move their bed times earlier.