I was shocked to learn not too long ago that the eight hours of sleep we hear about is for adults Ė not for teenagers. Teenagers are still considered children
, and I guess this makes sense if you stop to consider that our bodies and minds are still growing and developing, and with that development comes an increased need for sleep. In fact, most of us arenít getting anywhere near enough, and thatís including everyone who is getting eight hours every night.
The Power of Sleep
Sleep is easily one of the most important parts of your day. Not only does it make you feel rested and recovered when you sleep a good nightís sleep, but your body is growing and changing during this important rest time as well. While youíre sleeping, your body actually grows taller or more mature. Your muscles rest and then recover from workouts helping you grow stronger.
Your brain even improves while youíre sleeping as well. When youíre asleep, the thoughts that were rolling around in your head finally are able to sort themselves out and fall into position. How often have you gone to bed puzzling over a particular problem only to have the perfect solution appear to you almost magically by morning? That is simply your brain at work.
Your body grows and heals while youíre sleeping and that includes beating off any number of small viruses and diseases that afflict us during the day. While your body is awake, it is working hard getting you through the day. If youíre tired, your body isnít working as properly as you might like. If you were to pick up a virus along the way, your tired body isnít able to fight it off very well. On the other hand, getting a long, deep nightís sleep allows your body to fight more aggressively against the virus ensuring you wake up healthy and alert.
Getting Enough Sleep
If seven to eight hours of sleep is appropriate for adults, how much sleep are we supposed to be getting as teens? The answer is actually nine or more hours every night. For most of us that would mean going to bed around eight-thirty or nine in the evening and then getting up around six to start the day. Of course, you can shift the times around as you need to, but any way you cut it, weíre going to be earlier and still getting up at the same time in the morning if weíre going to be sleeping properly.
Judging by how tired I am in the mornings, I see a very valid point here for teens. Would we be so tired at school if we actually did go to bed at nine? How much more would I be able to learn by sleeping at nine in the evening and getting up around six? The only way to know, of course, is to try it out, so I believe Iíll do exactly that. Starting today, Iíll shoot for nine hours of sleep and hopefully Iíll be dazzled with the results of the test Ė a new, brighter, better rested me.