image of woman sleeping in bed, covering the top half of her head with a pillow while holding her glasses in the other hand

Getting Adequate Sleep

Healthy living for parents, teens and children involves getting adequate sleep. This something we all know intellectually, but can be one of the most challenging goals to reach, especially given our 24/7 society. Sleep is critical for families to stay healthy and for children and teens to learn, grow, do well in school and function at their best. When children and adolescents do not get adequate sleep we can see behavioral problems, impaired learning and school performance, sports injuries, mood and emotional regulation difficulties and declines in health including increased risk of obesity. Studies in adolescents show that lack of sleep may be related to high –risk behaviors such as substance use, suicidal behaviors and drowsy driving. Adults are not immune to the effects of a lack of sleep, even if that extra cup of coffee lets you feel alert. Adults need adequate sleep in order to function at their best in the home, driving and at the workplace. In addition, for adults a lack of sleep has been linked to health issues including heart disease, diabetes and obesity. People never get accustomed to sleep loss, but they do become less aware of how impaired they are, even if they are having difficulties with school, work or home functioning and performance. Sleep has significant restorative functions for the brain and the body, so a lack of sleep can interfere with healing from both medical and emotional stressors.