Educational Editorial: Students, technology and sleep

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Chicago Tribune carried an article this week by Vikki Healy entitled, "Wired and tired." She referenced a Journal of Pediatrics study where only 21 percent of high school students had experienced the recommended 9 hours of sleep a night.

And, what were the teens doing the rest of the time? Watching TV, working on the computer, talking on the phone and sending text messages.

Many teens say that they are awakened during the night with a text message. About three years ago my physician said that I needed to be tested for sleep apnea.

Of course I resisted but he did not give up…the result was that I had been waking up frequently (less than a minute) and had a difficult time getting any deep sleep.

As science has taught us, a lack of sleep can lead to poor performance, obesity…and in some instances depression.

I now sleep with a CPAP, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, every night and everywhere I go.

Now what is the lesson? If I said that alcohol and drugs are bad habits…and illegal habits…for teenagers, you would agree.

You also, in earnest, would work to create good habits for young people, to educate them to the perils of unhealthy behavior, and set up some accountability.

Well parents, here is another teachable moment, while technology is fascinating, and I am a victim, we need to make sure that our desires for social networking do not trump adequate rest.

Young people are not on call 24/7 and until they leave our supervision and as they prepare for a new school year, we should help them get some rest.