Science

Sleep is vital for teenagers' mental and physical development, experts tell parents


Even 18-year-olds need strict bedtimes: Sleep is vital for teenagers’ mental and physical development, experts tell parents

  • The study was carried out by scientists at Rochester University in New York 
  • Experts tracked 193 teenagers, aged 14 to 17, and their parents for seven nights
  • Found a third of the parents did not enforce rules on pre-bedtime screen usage

Parents should set strict bedtimes for teenagers – right up until the age of 18, sleep experts say.

Getting enough sleep is vital for teenagers’ mental and physical development, yet most parents have given up telling them when to go to bed or trying to limit their use of electronic gadgets in the evenings.

But a study suggests continuing to lay down strict bedtime rules even for older teens can have a significant impact.

A study by scientists at Rochester University in New York have found that parents should set strict bedtimes for teenagers - right up until the age of 18. (Stock image)

A study by scientists at Rochester University in New York have found that parents should set strict bedtimes for teenagers – right up until the age of 18. (Stock image) 

Scientists at Rochester University in New York tracked 193 teenagers, aged 14 to 17, and their parents for seven nights.

They found that no bedtime limit was set on 74 per cent of the nights surveyed. 

A third of the parents did not enforce rules on pre-bedtime screen usage and 48 per cent did not curb evening caffeine consumption.

But the 16 per cent of parents who most consistently enforced bedtimes saw children sleep for an average of six minutes longer each night – leaving them with more daytime energy and fewer depressive thoughts.

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Researchers told Sleep medical journal: ‘Parents who can appropriately create and maintain bedtimes … increase not only the opportunity for more sleep but also for greater … mental well-being.’

Independent sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley agreed, saying: ‘Sleep is very important in the teenage years – for memory, development, growth and mental health. Having a regular bedtime sets good lifelong habits.’

The sleeping experts found getting enough sleep was vital for teenagers' mental and physical development. (Stock image)

The sleeping experts found getting enough sleep was vital for teenagers’ mental and physical development. (Stock image)

 



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