When I was in high school, staying up all night long was as normal as homework!  I recently read a study showing a link between sleep deprivation and an increased risk for adolescents to pick up smoking and drinking.  What exactly do these researchers think is going on late at night?

This doesn’t sound all that surprising to me. Which came first, the smoking and the drinking or the lack of sleep? What’s more, because the study was done based on questionnaires, I wonder if researchers were able to take into account micro-sleeps that students had unknowingly during classes.

Teens face a lot of pressures these days, juggling high expectations from peers and family members with the rigors of school and life in general. My two children aren’t quite as old as the average age of the kids observed in the study (14.6 years), but it’s troubling to think a kid who doesn’t log eight hours of sleep a night is more likely to get addicted to smoking and drinking.

As parents, sometimes we have to let our kids be kids and rest assured that we’ve taught them all we can so they make good choices. Encouraging good sleep hygiene despite the trials of those adolescent years is one thing that will help them (hopefully) mature into healthy, happy adults—even if they do choose to stay out late and sleep in all morning!

Want to learn more about teens and sleep deprivation?  Watch this video: