You already know that getting a decent night’s shut-eye makes a world of difference to your teenager’s mood (and the number of eye rolls you get in the morning). But did you know that healthy sleep in adolescents is also linked to better learning, memory, attention, cognition and emotion processing?
And now a new study has found a low-effort and budget-friendly way to maximize your teen’s sleep—by upgrading their pillow.
Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles monitored the sleep quality of 55 14- to 18-year-old high school students across L.A. from different socioeconomic backgrounds using wristwatch-like monitors. Then after two weeks, the teenagers had their brains scanned.
What they found was that adolescents who reported greater satisfaction with their bedding and pillows had greater sleep quality (measured by fewer awakenings per night). And here’s the kicker—greater sleep quality was associated with greater brain connectivity (defined by study author Adriana Galván in the Washington Post as “the connections among pathways in the brain involved in self-control, emotion and reward processing—the same ones that are important for reducing impulsivity and staying focused in class”).
So, there you have it—buy a more comfortable pillow for your teen and he might bring home that A in biology. Hey, it’s an easier fix than arguing about night-time phone use for the millionth time.