sleep deprivation in teensTeens don’t get enough sleep–that’s not hard to believe. Only around 15 percent of teens have reported actually getting 8 hours of much needed sleep. That means that much more than half the country’s teenagers are sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation in teens doesn’t just lead to drool on a desk, it leads to a lot of other issues–including issues in learning and memory according to a new study from the Universities of Groningen and Pennsylvania. PsychCentral recently reported on the details of the new research.

What the research says about sleep deprivation in teens

Researchers used mice to understand the effects of sleep deprivation in teens and adults, specifically they wanted to further understand the effects of it on memory. What they found was disturbing. Sleep deprivation of just 5 hours “leads to a loss of connectivity between neurons in the hippocampus, a region of the brain associated with learning and memory.” This is the first study to provide details on why sleep deprivation harms memory.
Robbert Havekes, Ph.D., first author of the study, states:

“It’s clear that sleep plays an important role in memory — we know that taking naps helps us retain important memories. But how sleep deprivation impairs hippocampal function and memory is less obvious.”

The researchers also found that the effects could be reversed, though. By allowing the mice 3 hours of undisturbed sleep after the sleep deprivation, the memory harming effects were reversed and the mice were back to a normal state. This doesn’t justify sleep deprivation in teens, though. While this may help memory processes recover, it doesn’t erase the increase in the possibility of developing depression, anxiety, heart disease, and other issues.

Helping your teen get enough sleep

Getting a teenager to sleep can be a very difficult task for a parent–especially if your teen has a television in their room or a cellphone. To get around this, have technology free zones and times. Your teen doesn’t need a television in their room if it’s causing their sleep deprivation. Phones should be put away after a certain time to make sleep easier.

blueFire Wilderness can help

blueFire Wilderness is a wilderness therapy program for struggling teens, ages 11 to 17. Our students often grapple with depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems. At blueFire, we strive to help each client succeed.
For more information about how blueFire Wilderness handles issues related to sleep deprivation in teens, please call 1 (844) 413-1999 today!

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