There are many things that can cause your student to have difficulty falling asleep at night. If they haven’t gotten enough physical activity during the day or spent an hour staring at a screen (computers, phones, or TV) right before bedtime, it can keep them from actually falling asleep when they get in bed. If your student’s afternoon is spent on hours of homework and extracurriculars, they likely aren’t ready to go to sleep any more than you would be. They feel the need to unwind as much as anyone else, and can experience feelings of stress and anxiety if they have too much work and too little downtime.
What are the consequences?
When your student doesn’t sleep enough, this can create a sleep deficit; a backlog of hours that they should have been sleeping, but weren’t. This is why your teen may seem to sleep the day away on the weekend. They’re behind on sleep and their body is trying to catch up. When you’re caught up on sleep, you’ll find that there’s a very natural rhythm to your sleeping patterns. You’ll be tired at night and wake up in the morning around the same time each day, regardless of whether or not you’ve set an alarm.
The longer you go without the proper amount of sleep, the larger your deficit becomes. If your student builds too great a deficit, it can begin to affect their waking hours. They may experience an inability to focus, difficulty retaining information, and can also be more likely to get sick. They may nod off in class more frequently, or experience episodes of microsleep that interrupt their concentration and cause them to miss information.
At St. Barnabas, we understand the importance of creating balance for our students. Free time during lunch each day and reasonable homework expectations are some of the perks of a private education that you won’t always find in public schools. Even so, it’s important to keep track of your student’s sleep, and ensure that they’re getting enough, so that they can make the most of each day.
Our mission is to challenge each student in a supportive environment that promotes academic excellence and sound moral values within a framework of God’s love.