July 9, 2012 by middleearthnj
Classes, social stress, homework, sports, chores, part-time jobs, after-school activities… teens live busy lives. Does your teen seem to be dragging? Many teens feel tired from their many commitments and look for ways to increase their energy. Some of these ways may not be all that good for them. Before your teen gets burnout, it’s a good time to teach your adolescent the normal things in life that provide natural energy bumps and drains.
Energy Bump: More Sleep
The average teenager is only getting 7 hours of sleep a night. Research has shown that teens need at least 8 ½ hours of rest a night. That means that most teens are operating on a 1 ½ hour sleep deprivation every day. Getting a good night’s sleep is as important as getting three healthy meals a day – mental nourishment. Without enough sleep, you literally can’t function properly. Getting more sleep helps you get better grades, be a safer driver, keep off extra pounds, fight illness, have better moods, and yes, have more energy.
If your teen finds it tough to fall asleep right away, advise them to start winding down an hour before bedtime. Have them setup a routine to follow each night when getting ready for bed, and keep away from their computer, TV, and phone. Find a relaxing activity to do in the hour leading up to the time you need to get to sleep and make relaxing before bed a habit. Suggest your teen read, listen to music, or soak in the tub.
Energy Drain: Candy
Many teens resort to candy for a quick sugar high when their energy is flagging, but the sugar rush doesn’t last long and it also provides a lot of empty calories. To keep their energy level up and steady, advise your teen to eat a snack with a healthy mix of protein, healthy fat, and carbs, such as apples and peanut butter with some trail mix. A well-balanced diet is one of the best ways to establish good energy.
Energy Bump: Exercise
It might be counterintuitive, but studies show that people feel better and have more energy as soon as they start moving. Sitting in front of the TV or computer may seem like a good idea when you’re tired, but it’s actually putting your body in “sleep mode” without getting a refreshing rest. Exercise increases your body’s serotonin and dopamine levels, which are the chemicals that make you feel good. Regular exercise encourages good sleeping patterns, healthier weight and boosts your body’s energy. For your teen to get their energy jumpstarted, they do not have to do an intense workout. Advise them to keep it simple – mow the lawn, walk the dog, play a game of basketball, or jump rope for a couple of minutes. When you raise your heart rate for even 30 seconds, your brain increases its neurological output and releases chemicals that wake you up.
Energy Drain: Caffeine and Energy Drinks
Caffeine and energy drinks act similarly to candy – giving you a quick rush of energy only to leave you crashing a little bit later leaving you more tired than before. Caffeine can also leave you dehydrated which makes you feel sluggish. Additionally, caffeine impacts your ability to sleep, which can lead to a vicious cycle of drinking caffeine because you’re tired only to not be able to sleep well making you need more caffeine the next day. Teens should not have more than 2 sodas or one energy drink a day.
Energy Bump: Water
Make water your first choice of beverage for natural energy instead. Drinking plenty of water helps keep you alert, focused, and moving easily.
Energy Drain: Stress
Reduce your stress – easy to say, hard to do. Most people live a hectic and busy life and often have to juggle about a hundred things at once. Maintaining stressful lives drains the energy out of everyone. Find ways to organize yourself, prevent overcommitment, and build in time to relax. Having a good laugh and a life that you love is the best source of energy anyone can get.
The best natural energy comes from getting enough rest, being active, eating well, and drinking plenty of water.