If you’re the parent of a teenager having difficulty getting up in the mornings or who is stressed out from exams – or if you’re a teen yourself – read on! The latest research from the International Journal of Endocrinology offers hope to both tired teens and their parents.
During our teens our bio-rhythms undergo a pronounced shift. We stay up later and also wake up later. All this often coincides with increased pressure from up-coming exams – right when teens need their sleep their bodies seem to conspire against them. No, parents – they are not doing this deliberately to bug you! Studies have shown that around 70 per cent of teenagers are arriving at school sleep-deprived but the new research shows there might be a way of helping teens through the stress of their teenage years.
Most of us have heard of cortisol – a stress hormone produced by our bodies. Cortisol levels are usually lowest during the day but hit a sharp spark in the hour before waking – something known as the cortisol waking response (CAR). This sets us up for the day if you like. Our body clocks are ruled by light so researchers set out to see if they could manipulate light to change the body clock of teens and optimise their CAR to ensure they were wide awake in the mornings and ready for school
The study involved teens from 12 to 17 years of age who took part in three overnight stays each a week apart. The teens were either exposed to short wave-length blue light in the morning or were exposed to dim light. The subjects wore “dimesimeter” wrist bands that measured light exposure and activity levels. Blood tests showed that the teens exposed to the blue light had enhanced levels of CAR in the morning and were better able to face the day. All this sheds light on ‘teenage blues’ and appears to make the idea of a ‘blue light disco’ a stroke of genius.
Blue is also the colour of the throat Chakra and is all about communication, it might even bring about an easier sense of communicating! Perhaps a blue night light may be just the thing for your sleepy teen. Don’t forget, in terms of our soul and body development our teenage years are pretty exhausting with so many body changes, pressure to discover our identities and decide on a soul path and the daunting prospect of our life’s journey ahead of us. Isn’t it a wonder our teens need all the sleep they can get?
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