It's been felt for some time now that inadequate or poor quality sleep in teenagers leads to poor performance at school but it was not until quite recently that a formal research study confirmed that teenage children with poor sleeping habits do indeed have lower grade point averages.
Here are 10 simple tips to ensure that an otherwise healthy child gets the quality of sleep needed to perform well in school:
Tip 1. Set a regular time for going to bed and try not to vary this time by more than a few minutes from day to day.
Tip 2. Make sure that you get up at the same time every morning, whether or not it is a school day. Teenagers commonly have a lie-in at the weekends and during the school holidays and, rather than helping to make you feel better, this simply disrupts your pattern of sleep.
Tip 3. If you find that you cannot get to sleep within about 15 or 20 minutes of getting into bed then don't simply lie in bed trying to sleep, because the harder you try the more difficult it will become. Instead, get up and do something such as reading a book (not a school book) or listening to some relaxing music. Once you begin to feel tired, climb back into bed and you'll be asleep in no time at all.
Tip 4. Don't be tempted to stay up late doing homework or studying for a test. Although this may seem like the answer to a specific problem in the short term, and might well keep you out of trouble for handing in your homework late or get you through a specific test, in the longer term your overall performance will suffer and any short term gain will soon be lost.
Tip 5. Avoid the temptation to take a nap in the afternoon after school. If you do find that you're so tired you can't keep your eyes open then go ahead and take a nap but limit it to no more than an hour.
Tip 6. Avoid any form of drink that contains caffeine after about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. This of course means tea and coffee, but also includes colas and chocolate drinks.
Tip 7. Avoid eating a heavy meal too close to bedtime. You certainly don't want to go to bed feeling hungry and a light snack before bedtime is fine, but going to bed on a full stomach can make it difficult to get to sleep and affect the quality of your sleep.
Tip 8. Although teenagers will often spend a lot of time in their bedroom and turn it into more of a 'living' than a 'sleeping' room, avoid using the bed for anything other than sleeping. Don't sit in bed reading, writing, watching TV or playing games but reserve it only for sleeping so that your body associates climbing into bed with going to sleep.
Tip 9. Don't take any vigorous exercise within several hours of going to bed. If you want to play football or engage in other sporting or vigorous activities then do these shortly after school and not an hour or two before going to bed.
Tip 10. When it comes to bedtime make sure that your bedroom is quiet, dark and cool. Don't shut the room up, turn up the heat and climb into bed to watch TV. Instead, turn the heating down, open the window a little if possible to let in some fresh air and have the room as dark as you can get it.
Follow these 10 tips and within no time at all your quality of sleep will improve, you'll feel more awake and active during the day and your grades will improve.