For teens, sleeping is as important as socializing. But about four out of five middle and high schools start before the recommended time of 8:30 a.m., according to an August 2015 study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. That means most teens aren’t getting the 8.5–9.5 hours of sleep they need to function well. Lack of sleep puts teens at risk of underachieving academically, being overweight, experiencing depression and engaging in such behaviors as drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and trying drugs.
Parents should encourage their teens to go to bed and get up at the same time daily. They can provide an environment in which teens have time to do their homework, relax and unwind before bed. And they can look for signs of sleep deprivation and come up with a plan to address it.