Summer’s here and many Iowa parents are relaxing their enforcement of kids’ bedtimes. Will that mean it’ll be harder for those children to get back in the early-morning groove this fall when school starts again? Yes – and no. Sleep specialist Doctor Marty Klein says most kids just aren’t morning people due to their biology. They become night owls as their body clocks are somewhat longer than 24 hours and they stay up late and just can’t get to bed early enough to get a good night’s sleep before school. Klein says teens are among the most sleep-deprived groups in the country. Klein says over-scheduling is part of the problem. Between jobs, school and extracurricular activities, too many parents let kids make their own decisions instead of enforcing a bedtime. Klein says biology is working against teens and it’s manifesting in a variety of ways. Sleepy, cranky kids are a bigger problem than most people realize. ACT scores have been dropping at the same rate over the past 20 years as the number of kids who don’t get sufficient sleep. Klein says heavy before-school and after-school activities can turn them into walking zombies. Sleepy kids can’t remember things or concentrate and can’t figure out math. It also effects creativity and mood and makes younger kids hyperactive. Klein is a licensed marriage and family counselor and has written five books.
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