Schools hard. That’s a given. But it’s even harder when you were up late doing homework and you had to get up early. For school! However, this is something we have to accept. If the school system decides to let us start a little later, that will be amazing, but until then we have to find a solution. That’s why I think bedtimes are important, even when you are old enough to think for yourself.

It’s not something to consider childish or annoying. Honestly, a bedtime is something to be thankful for! You get a guaranteed long and good night’s sleep every night. Once you get to university, the workforce, or even have children of your own you will learn to appreciate how amazing this feels. Whether or not you consider it to be an amazing feeling, at this age is when you need it most. I know you’ve heard it a million times before, but when you are growing is when you need your sleep!

Teens tend to have irregular sleep patterns across the week — we typically stay up late which can affect our biological clocks and hurt the quality of our sleep. Sleep is food for the brain. During sleep, important body functions and brain activity occur. Skipping sleep can be harmful, to your grades, your attitude and your health. You can look bad, you may feel moody, and you perform poorly. Sleepiness can make it hard to get along with your family and friends and hurt your scores on school exams, on the court or on the field. A brain that is hungry for sleep will get it, even when you don’t expect it. For example, drowsiness and falling asleep at the wheel cause more than 100,000 car crashes every year. Now imagine the equivalent at school; your grades could become the new car crash!

Sleep is vital to your well-being, as important as the air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat. It can even help you to eat better and manage the stress of being a teen. Biological sleep patterns shift toward later times for both sleeping and waking during adolescence. When we are teenagers we need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to function best. Most teens do not get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep or having sleep difficulties can limit your ability to learn, listen, concentrate and solve problems. You may even forget important information like names, numbers, your homework or a date with a special person in your life. Plus, it can make you more prone to pimples, contributing to acne and other skin.

So maybe, just maybe, parents should keep setting bedtimes for their teenage students in order to ensure this happens. We need our sleep, but we want to get organised, watch Netflix and stay up chatting to mates more. It could be our only hope…! I don’t think I’m telling you something you don’t already know with all these facts. What I am trying to stress is how important it is, I’m in the same boat and I can recognise this! We need to make each day incredible, and waking up rested in a good mood is the best start we can get.

Critical Thinking Questions:

1. Should parents set a mandatory bedtime?

2. If so, what time?

3. Do you think going to bed early is effective? Or is getting up later is a better solution?

Practical Questions:

1. If you’re brave, talk to your parents and rationally discuss a reasonable time to go to bed.

2. Ask your peers what time they go to bed and how tired they feel each day.

3. Design yourself a sleep timetable for the week and STICK TO IT! See how you feel this time next week. Better? Worse? Tired? Energised? After getting the results, try and set some habits.

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