Why teens sleep longer
often attribute their teenage son or daughter’s early morning
grouchiness to the fact that they have not gotten a good night’s
sleep thanks to all those long telephone chats, or watching
television. However they might soon have to change that opinion,
for a leading body clock expert has found that teens are
basically biologically programmed to want more sleep.
Foster, a "chronobiologist" at Oxford University, set
out to find why, as soon as they hit that 13-year mark, kids
could turn from being sweet and adorable to unpredictable,
arrogant and moody.
Foster claims that the reason why teens always want to sleep
that extra hour or to is because their brains are a "work
in progress" and needs extra sleep.
He cites work
by Prof Till Roenneberg and colleagues at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitdt
in Munich, which showed that sleep timing changes noticeably as
By the time of
puberty, bed times and wake times start getting later and later
i.e. teens tend to fall asleep late, as well as get up late.
The study by
Prof Till Roenneberg’s team also found that the tendency to
get up later continues until about the age of 19.5 years in
women and 20.9 years in men.
that teens are basically biologically programmed to want to
sleep just that little bit longer in the mornings.
basis of this data, we know teens want to go to bed two hours
later than 40 to 50-year-olds, and in 10 per cent there is a
four hour delay," the Telegraph quoted Professor
Foster, as saying.
Foster added that parents need to understand that the teen years
are crucial for the brain, for that is the time that it matures,
and that MRI scans of adolescent brains conducted over the past
decade also back up this theory.
most sleep deprived are teenagers and an increasing body of
evidence from sleep researchers suggests that relatively minor
changes in the way we time educational activities could have
major benefits," said Professor Foster.
He added that studies by
Professor Carskadon with colleagues at the University of Toronto
have suggested that one way to greatly improve the alertness and
mental abilities of teens is to have a later starting time for
schools, so that their brains get the rest they need. — ANI