Teen sleep deprivation is widespread. Teens are infamous for being sleepy and angsty, but the sleepy part may have more to do with the angsty part than we originally thought. ScienceDaily recently looked into new study delving into the effects of teen sleep deprivation on the brain–and what they found was surprising.

teen sleep deprivationThe new research

The University of Surrey’s researchers delved into how your brain functions without enough sleep. In the study, they scanned 33 individual’s brains over the course of 2 days of sleep deprivation and then after “recovery sleep.”
They discovered that the longer the participants were sleep deprived, the less activity in the brain–especially in certain frontal areas. This was reversed after the “recovery sleep,” though. The effects of the sleep deprivation was much more widespread across the brain when individuals tried to perform reaction time tasks compared to complex memory-reliant tasks–though the memory-reliant tasks weren’t done well either.
This study also helps confirm the theory that the amount of brain function is affected by not only the amount of sleep the night before, but the time of day. Researchers found that performance doesn’t deteriorate at the same rate the entire 24-hours. During the biological day, performance is pretty constant, then at night it plummets, and then slightly improves the next day.

How it relates to teen sleep deprivation

Many teens don’t get enough sleep, teen sleep deprivation is somewhat of a plague in our society with the average sleep time for a teen not even reaching 7 hours. Whether this is because of too much homework, anxiety surrounding studying, or just staring at a screen too far into the night, it’s a major issue.
This study just gives us another view into how teen sleep deprivation is a true, dangerous issue that needs to be addressed by schools and parents. Sleep is our brain’s food, we need it to keep our mental health up and to stay physically aware. Many teens drive themselves to school, which is extremely scary because according to this study the first thing to be affected by teen sleep deprivation is motor skills.
You can help your child get enough sleep by not allowing screens after a certain time and getting your child to do their homework or studying before bed. If your son or daughter is seriously struggling with issues related to teen sleep deprivation, it’s imperative to reach out to a professional for further guidance.

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 helps teen sleep deprivation, please call 1 (844) 413-1999 today!

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