The Sleep Mind Connection: How Restful Nights Improve Teen Mental Fitness and School Performance

Very often I have parents bring their teens into my office wondering if they need medication to help with anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder and/or poor school performance. As I go through my checklist with them, it is often the case that sleep is the culprit. We are a sleep deprived society! A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control estimated that one third of the adult population sleeps less than the recommended minimum of seven hours each night. And teens, who need over 9 hours of sleep a night, are the least likely of any age group to get sufficient rest. According to a survey from the national sleep foundation, about 87% of American high school students are chronically sleep deprived.

Lack of sleep in teens has been found to delay the development and functions of their brains. The brain’s prefrontal cortex, responsible for decision making, impulse control and emotional regulation, is particularly vulnerable. Sleep deprived teenagers experience difficulties with concentration and attention, poor academic performance, behavioral and emotional problems, and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Proper sleep will improve your child’s ability to focus in school and promote mental fitness for success in all aspects of life.

Here are some tips on helping your child with sleep:

  • Ban electronics from the bedroom
  • Make it a family practice to charge cell phones in an isolated space to reduce temptations at bed time
  • Keep consistent sleep schedules
  • Discourage afternoon naps
  • Don’t procrastinate on school work that can keep your child up late into the evening
  • Limit caffeine later in the day.


Check out the links below for more information on the benefits of sleep to teen mental health and additional tips for creating restful evenings.


All of this information and more is available in David Hoy’s new book: Mental Fitness for Tweens and Teens.

Available for Pre-order now: