Why Teens Brains Need Later Start Time

Having a hard time getting your teens to get out of bed in the morning for school? It’s not uncommon to hear the groans and moans as they slowly move around getting ready for school in the morning. According to Dr. Kyla Wahlstrom, teens may actually need an extra hour or two of sleep to help them perform better in school:

“I have been researching the impact of later high school start times for 20 years. Research findings show that teens’ inability to get out of bed before 8 a.m. is a matter of human biology, not a matter of attitude. At issue here are the sleep patterns of the teenage brain, which are different from those of younger children and adults. Due to the biology of human development, the sleep mechanism in teens does not allow the brain to naturally awaken before about 8 a.m. This often gets into conflict with school schedules in many communities.” – Dr. Kyla Walhstrom 

Listen to the rest of the podcast at: http://tinyurl.com/h5vq7w5

Matt talks with Dr. Kyla Wahlstrom, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Minnesota. Her research work over the past 25 years has examined school and district leadership and the outcomes that result from educational policy initiatives. She has been researching later high school start times for the past 20 years, including her recently completed 3-year study for the CDC. The results of that research were used by the American Academy of Pediatrics to inform their national policy statement in 2014 about the need for later high school starting times. Dr. Wahlstrom shares the research.

Join The Matt Townsend Show, Weekdays 9am-12pm ET on BYU RADIO (Sirius XM Channel 143) or byuradio.org

Healing Your Life By Strengthening Your Spirit

Influenced by Dr. Lisa Miller, Columbia University and book The Spiritual Child. To learn more about Dr. Miller, click here.

Most of us have become accustomed to categorizing our lives into different sections like physical, social, emotional and spiritual. In my coaching work, with people struggling in life and relationships, I’ve found that their tends to be one of these four areas that we tend to overlook the most, and that is the area of spiritual growth. When times get tough, many of us are much more likely to go to our friends or therapists for healing than to actually turn directly to our God to calm the storms. Research by Dr. Lisa Miller at Columbia University in health and spirituality shows that your spiritual connectedness to a higher power is more impactful to your human health, happiness and thriving than any other influence in your life. Even more important than how you were parented, your friends, your socio/economic status, your gender or your education. Our Spiritual connection with our higher power matters more than any other variable.

So let’s start finding ways to heal our emotional issues by strengthening our spiritual connectedness with our higher power. Here are 5 steps to improve your mental health, through spiritual connectivity.

 Hand Your Healing, Spiritual Connections Down

Focus Your Religiosity on Spirituality Connectivity

Seek Inspiration

Count Your Many Blessings

Love Your Way To Peace

By loving and serving others, we naturally get into the “more spiritual” parts of our brain, and distance ourselves from the more selfish parts of our brain.

Emotional Connection

How are you doing emotionally? Do you feel like you’re on top of your game? Do you feel like you’re getting it?

The principle we are talking about in the emotional area is the simple principle of ‘connection.’ Do you stay connected emotionally when times are going tough? Do you stay connected to the people around you, or do you notice you start to disconnect? One of the greatest indicators you’ve got for how you’re doing emotionally is when you start to disconnect from others. If you disconnect from everybody that is important to you – even if you disconnect from your own self – that is a sign you’re probably drifting emotionally.

When we get in a funk and we don’t love who we are as a human being, we can easily just go home and watch TV and escape; we will try to just float away from life. We will let whatever’s happening just happen. I personally go to Netflix. It’s my latest favorite addiction! I go find a series I love, and every time I get a chance, I’ll just go watch that series. I just float away so I don’t have to deal with what I’m feeling emotionally.  I also disconnect and float away from the people that I care about and love most.

Emotional disconnection is a big deal. Just think of the word ‘connection.’ We miss our plane flight that is getting us from city A to city B, right? We might have to go through two other cities to get there. If you miss your connecting flight, you’re in big trouble. You’ve missed it. And when you’ve missed the connecting flight, it makes it harder to get where you’re going. The same is true emotionally.  When you’re missing your own connection to your true self, who you are, your essence, or you’re missing a connection to other people, guess what happens? We start to drift.

I believe, sincerely, there’s a reason that we need other people in our lives. We need to be connected to other people because going with other people on this journey of life helps us emotionally. It helps us to be stronger; it helps us to recover faster. So when they’re strong, I can be weak. And when I am weak, they can be strong. It allows us to have someone to lean on, somebody that can watch out for us.

The emotional disconnection is very common. Normally what happens is, when we’re mad at another human being, when someone has hurt our feelings, when someone has offended us, or done something against us, or done something against our own value system, we do everything we can to disconnect from others, or from ourselves. Ask yourself the questions: Are you connected? Are you staying connected? Are you focusing on what you can do? Are you identifying what’s going on inside of you and being real with yourself? Or, are you spending a lot of time self-medicating with some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream every night?

What are you doing to disconnect? It’s a very important idea, that when we are starting to feel this distancing going on between us and ourselves, between us and our spiritual self, between us and other people, we need to just recognize we’re shifting and we’re starting to drift. And the minute you’re recognizing you’re drifting, you can start to identify, “How can I reconnect? What can I do to reconnect back into my values, my beliefs, and my system? What else can I do to reconnect to other people that care about me?”

This is especially true in our marriages. How many times could you be hurt by each other and just go three or four weeks not connecting? I challenge you, the minute you’re noticing you’re starting to drift, first, just notice the drift, the disconnect, notice the distance between you and another person – and then commit yourself emotionally that you’re going to stay connected in. It doesn’t mean you’re going to like it, and it doesn’t mean it’s always going to feel comfortable. It also doesn’t mean you have to go back and talk over the problems with that person. But it does mean, “I’m going to stay as a viable, valid, connected, human being with another person.”

One way to stay connected, when you’re alone in your safe, little place – when you’re driving, when you’re in your bed and you’re thinking – instead of stewing and beating yourself up (which might be a form of distancing yourself), instead of going to shame, you simply might want to start staying connected to what’s really true. Then you can address some of the questions we’re going to ask you throughout this month. You’re going to start to address what you have been learning about connection. This is a simple principle. Stay true to your principles and stay true and connected with people around you.

To learn more about my upcoming Date Night about Strengthening Connections, Click Here!

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