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Why Your Parents Should Let You Sleep

Teen girl sleeping in bedYou use every minute of the day. School, homework, sports, part-time jobs, your social life, and other extracurricular activities often have you getting up early and staying up late. As a teen, it probably seems like you barely have time to sleep. And if you're not getting at least 8 1/2 hours of shut-eye, you aren't getting enough.

Getting a good night's sleep is as important as getting three healthy meals a day: It's mental nourishment. Without enough sleep, you literally can't function properly.

But sometimes, when you do get the rare chance to sleep more, you might actually get grief from your parents. So here's help -- six reasons to give your parents so that you can sleep in when you're running low on ZZZs.

1. "More sleep could help me get better grades."

Without enough sleep, you -- as a hardworking student -- can't be expected to do your best work. A long-term lack of sleep can lead to bad grades, memory problems, and poor judgment. Some studies have even shown an increase in the chances of having depression and ADHD. Because you're a teen, experts recommend that you get between 8 1/2 and 9 1/4 hours of sleep each night.

2. "More sleep will help me be a much safer driver."

Being sleepy is dangerous, especially when you're getting behind the wheel of a 2,000-pound car early in the morning. You're not just a hazard to yourself -- you're endangering other drivers. A study by the American Academy of Sleep Societies has sparked interest in later start times for schools because the study shows a connection between earlier school starts and car accidents involving teens.

3. "I really do need more sleep."

Sleep's not something you just want; it's something you need as a teen. At your age, you are biologically programmed to want to sleep more -- and to fall asleep later at night.  For the most part, adults need less sleep: only seven to nine hours.

4. "Getting enough sleep can help me keep off extra pounds."

A recent study found that teens who slept less than eight hours each night and then didn't make up the sleep they missed had an increased risk of obesity. While nothing can replace getting the required amount of sleep on a regular basis, you may be able to sleep in and catch up on some sleep on weekends and holidays to fight off unhealthy extra pounds.

Just try not to count on sleeping extra on certain days. It turns out that having a sleep schedule that is drastically different on weekends can put your body out of whack -- making it harder for you to get to bed and get up when you need to during the week.