Many people try and solve life’s challenges with gadgets. There are diet calculators. There are fitbits to help us understand how much sleep and exercise we’re getting. What about a low tech method to help us get more and better quality sleep?
We’re sure there’s an “app for that”….but we’re not going there. (at least not in this post!)
A recent National Sleep Foundation poll found that 59% of sixth- through eighth-graders and 87% of high school students in the United States were getting less than the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep on school nights. Worse, more than 70% of parents believed their children were getting sufficient sleep.
Sleep Deprivation & Effect on Adolescents
Dr Adriana Galván of the University of California, Los Angeles conducts research in her developmental neuroscience lab about sleep deprivation and the effects it has on people.
During Dr Galván’s research, she came across an interesting and unexpected finding. Most of us probably think that the total number of hours that adolescents get was important for proper brain development.
However, the results surprised even Dr Galván and her colleagues.
Consistency was the key. For those kids whose sleep varied by as much as 2.5 hours from one night to another, they showed less development of white matter connections. White matter connections are important to help connect the various regions of the brain, and to process information efficiently.
Next, the Dr and her team conducted sleep related experiments on a sample of 55 adolescents aged 14 – 18 years old. It turns out, that “pillow comfort” and to a lesser degree – “satisfaction with their bedding”, was uniquely related to better quality sleep – more than age, sex or income levels.
It turns out, these environmental factors seem to be an important influencer to ensure proper sleep for adolescents.
So, turn the devices off. Get them to read book. Yes, really, a book.
Invest in some quality sheets & bedding, and perhaps a high quality natural latex pillow. (we LOVE ours and take them travelling with us – on car trips at least).
It’s probably less important for a child or youth to have the luxurious Fawcett Model 9 mattress to achieve high quality sleep.
As we age, our shoulders and bodies seem to be a little more “needy”. A good option? Our 4 year old boy sleeps on a Fawcett Model 6 mattress and is a great sleeper. Now we’re going to add a latex pillow.