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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Lack of Sleep has Serious Implications for Teens

KETTERING - Most of us probably don't get enough sleep. It's sometimes an after thought in the haze of our busy schedules. Teenagers, however, are an age group that get the least amount of sleep, but need the most to keep up with their maturing bodies. According to Dr. David Roer from Pediatric Associates in Kettering, a lack of sleep is an extremely risky behavior for teenagers and it can cause a whole carrel of health issues. 


"What that affects is brain maturation, immune system maturation. You can also get anxiety, depression and it can increase your risk for obesity. It's more important than you think," said Dr. Roer. 


Students at Kettering Fairmont High School agreed that they do not get enough sleep.  


"In most of my classes I'm trying not to fall asleep in," said Junior Molly Donovan. Her classmates all conquered. Junior Alex Dupler said he usually goes to bed between 1AM and 3AM. And, Junior Tristan Carl gets between two and eight hours of sleep a night. 


Dr. Roer explained that when teenagers are sleepy, academic performance can suffer and they are at risk to get in more car accidents. One solution schools across the country are testing is to start high school later in the morning. Hudson City Schools near Cleveland pushed school back around 30 minutes in 2011 after parents became concerned with their sleepy teens.


"As we began to analyze the various components of data and student improvement data, we've improved all the way through the period of time since we changed," said Phil Herman, Superintendent of Hudson City Schools. He said the district has seen positive results from a later start time, but it wasn't an easy transition. It was difficult to change transportation times with busing and extra curricular activity after school. 


"If we got done at 4:30PM, a lot of kids who work after school would have difficulty finding jobs. I know athletics would be different, too", said Dan VonHandorf, principal of Kettering Fairmont High School. The high school starts at 7:50AM. VonHandorf said he has thought about starting later in the morning and is open to considering the idea. 


"We wouldn't need to start schools an hour later if kids and parents would follow a schedule and routine that's more appropriate for teens," said Dr. Roer. 


Here is what parents can do right now to help their kids get more sleep:
  • Take all electronics away from them by 10PM
  • Make sure they stay away from stimulant drinks like coffee and energy drinks
  • Keep them on schedule
  • Make bed time a priority 
  • Regulate after school activities



If you are concerned about your teens sleeping schedule and overall health, talk to your pediatrician.

 
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