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Teen Health/Fitness

4 Ways To Help Your Teen Get Enough Sleep Even though the kids are back in school, it can still be hard for them to get into a proper sleep routine. After a summer of late nights, a lot of teens may have gotten used to sleeping in and are now finding it difficult to wake up for school so early in the morning. Though this may seem like rebellious behaviour, there is an actual scientific reason behind this. Sleep Phase Delay Sleeping patterns for teenagers are hormonally influenced because the hormonal response to the 24-hour light/dark exposure that influences circadian rhythm (an internal 24-hour clock running in the background of your brain that cycles between alertness and sleepiness) is altered. Adolescents then proceed to physiologically want to stay awake later at night and remain sleeping late in the daytime. The scientific reason behind changing sleep patterns is called Sleep Phase Delay. It means that a child that used to fall asleep at 9 p.m. doesn’t start to feel tired until 10:30 or 11 p.m. Sleep expert Amy Marasco from Goodnight Sleep Site (a service committed to helping families get better sleep) says that adolescents show higher levels of alertness at 8 p.m. than most adults, and even more so at 10 p.m. “Further investigation revealed that the adolescent body’s release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin is delayed during the sleep phase delay portion of adolescence, making it harder for teens to fall asleep on their own,” says Marasco. Sleepiness a Serious Threat A technical report done by The American Academy of Paediatrics talks about how chronic sleep loss is a serious threat to teenagers that can contribute to obesity, mental health issues and drowsy driving. The report revealed that as students get older, sleep durations decline. Students in America, Germany, Northern Taiwan, and India dropped to less than eight hours of sleep for high-school aged students; so, it isn’t just a problem within North America. How Many Hours Should Your Teen Be Sleeping? Sleep is important to growing teens as appropriate sleep is required in order for their bodies and minds to function at their best.“The recommended amount of sleep for a teen is 9 ¼ hours which is much more sleep than the average 7-7 ¼ hours teens are currently getting,” says Marasco. Getting a proper amount of sleep will also help them fight off illness and keep up with academics, part-time jobs and family obligations. 4

Depressed and Dying Teen suicide is rising at alarming rates. In fact, according to a recent survey, 13.6 per cent of surveyed high school students in the US and a whopping 46 per cent of surveyed high school students in Canada have created a plan to die. Here’s how to spot the signs of depression and suicidal thoughts in your teens, so you can get them help before it’s too late. By Dr. Allison Forti Every day, we turn on the news or log on to our social media and see stories of teen suicide. Our children are killing themselves more and more every day. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10-24. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rates of teen suicide have steadily risen in the U.S. since 2007 from 9.7 deaths per 100,000 to 13.15 deaths per 100,000 for ages 15-24. This alarming trend also reveals increases in suicidal ideation and behaviour. According to the latest Youth Risk Behaviour Survey, which is conducted every two years during the spring semester and provides data representative of Grade 9 through Grade 12 students in public and private schools throughout the United States, 31.5 per cent of high school students reported persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness daily for two or more weeks over the past year. The same survey revealed 17.2 per cent of high school students have considered suicide, 13.6 per cent have created a plan for suicide, and 2.4 per cent have actually injured themselves in suicide attempts. In Canada, our teens are faring no better. Kids Help Phone surveyed 1,319 teens aged 13 to 18 across the country. The finding were published in a report called “Teens Talk 2016,” and included this alarming statistic — 22 per cent of those who responded, seriously considered attempting suicide in the last 12 months. Moreover, 46 per cent had formulated a plan with girls (67 per cent) being twice as likely as boys (33 per cent) to consider taking their own lives. Being aware of the signs of suicidal ideation may help parents protect their teens. Teens most at risk for suicide are those with a past history of substance abuse and mental illness (e.g., depression). If you think your teen might be depressed, it’s important to get him or her the help she or he needs. Here are eight signs to look