Sleep and Teens

sleep in teens

Teens have many responsibilities at school and at home, their social lives are expanding, their independence is growing, and they are making plans for their future. According to research, very few teens—as little as 15 percent—are getting the sleep that they need.

How Much Sleep do Teens Need?

Teens are at an important stage of their growth and development. Because of this, they need more sleep than adults need. The average teen needs about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to function best, to feel alert and well rested. Most teens tend to have irregular sleep patterns across the week and do not get enough sleep. During sleep, important body functions and brain activity occur. Skipping sleep can be harmful.

Many factors keep teens from getting enough sleep. Causes for their lack of sleep include the following:

  • Rapidly changing bodies
  • Busy schedules
  • Active social lives
  • A wrong view of sleep

Over time, nights of missed sleep (whether they are caused by asleep disorder or simply not scheduling enough time for the necessary sleep) can build into a sleep deficit teens with a sleep deficit can’t concentrate, study, or work effectively. They also can have emotional problems, like depression.


A Shift in Sleep

Puberty is a time when your body begins to go through many changes. One change in the body during puberty is closely related to how you sleep. There is a shift in the timing of your circadian rhythms. Before puberty, your body makes you sleepy around 9:00 pm. When puberty begins, this rhythm shifts a couple hours later. Now, your body tells you to go to sleep around 11:00 pm.

The natural shift in a teen’s circadian rhythms is called “sleep phase delay.” The need to sleep is delayed for about two hours. At first, teens may appear to be suffering from insomnia. They will have a hard time falling asleep at the usual time. Teens will quickly adjust to the new sleep schedule of their bodies.

sleep apnea doctor

What Happens if Teens do not get Enough Sleep?

Parents play a vital role in helping teens get the sleep that they need. You should pay close attention to how your son or daughter sleeps, acts, and feels. They will give you signs that show they are not getting enough sleep. See if your teen shows any of the following signs:

• Has trouble waking up most mornings
• Acts irritable in the early afternoon
• Falls asleep easily during the day
• Has a sudden drop in grades
• Sleeps for very long periods on the weekends
A lack of sleep can often be confused with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some young people are thought to have ADHD when in reality they are having a problem with their sleep.

What can Affect Teens' Sleep?

Most schools start class very early in the morning. After a long day at school, teens may also have to study for hours at home. An early start and a lot of homework can combine to make it hard for them to get to sleep on time.

Of course, many teens also like to spend hours of their time with friends. With all of these options facing them, there simply is not enough time for teens to do it all. They have to give something up. Far too often, their sleep is left out.

The burden of these demands combines with changes in their bodies to make it hard for teens to get the sleep that they need. This causes them to fight a daily battle against sleepiness. They struggle to wake up and make it to school on time. The need for an alarm clock to wake up is a sign that they are not getting enough sleep at night. They may doze off during class or sleep through family activities on the weekend.

sleeping in class

It can be hard to determine the cause of a teen’s sleep problems. If your teen seems to be getting enough rest at night but is still feeling tired during the day, it’s a good idea to visit the sleep doctor.

If a sleep problem is suspected, the doctor will evaluate your teen’s overall health and sleep habits. In addition, he may order a sleep test. Most teens will sleep much better if they simply develop the habits of good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene consists of basic tips that help you develop a pattern of healthy sleep.

Parents should create a calm atmosphere in the home at bedtime… click here for more details