Teenagers have a lot working against them when it comes to getting enough sleep. They often have after-school activities, heavy loads of homework, and addiction to catching up on social media before bedtime. Teens with ADHD are also struggling with executive function. This can make it difficult to get homework done and manage time.
A new study, conducted by the American Physiological Society, reported that the teens who got less sleep in their study showed significant deficits in executive function. The volunteers in this trial were asked to restrict their sleep to 6 ½ hours per night for a full week. They then extended their sleep up to 9 ½ hours per night for a week. The subjects were tested after each week to determine how the shift in their sleep schedule affected their executive function. This is the first study to display how sleep affects executive function in teens with ADHD.
The research shows that more sleep can help ADHD teens focus, plan, and control their emotions. It also showed that less sleep can make their ADHD symptoms worse.
Here are some tips to help your teen get the sleep they need:
- Be consistent with a scheduled bedtime. Parents need to stay involved with their teens and set limitations with few exceptions.
- All screens off an hour before bedtime. Make certain homework gets done before this time and avoid social media. Avoiding social media before bedtime may reduce anxiety.
- Simplify your schedule. Don’t let your teen overbook their schedule. Explain how sleep is just as important as extracurricular activities. Click here to review the health benefits of getting enough sleep.
- Stay organized and streamline your evening and morning routines. Everything should have a place, so you’re not scrambling to get things together in the morning. This applies to clothes, school books, technology, food, etc.
- Ask your teen what you can do to help them get more sleep. Take note of their habits and offer your help where you can.
- Consult your teen’s doctor if medications are affecting their sleep, or if you are worried about sleep disorders.
Stay involved, take notice, and communicate with your teen as often as possible. They might not always appreciate your help, but their health will be better for it. Set a good example and follow the same rules so they do not feel alone in the process.
Play Attention provides technology and cognitive training software to improve executive function. Our unique program has been studied by Tufts University and positive results were seen in children with ADHD. To learn more and receive a customized program for yourself, your child, or your clients, call 800-788-6786.