Sleep Education & Tips

Is Your Teen Getting Enough Sleep?

    Chances are, the answer is no. According to a 2018 study, "73% of high school students are failing to meet" the recommended amount of sleep. How do you know if your child is getting the proper amount of sleep, and if they aren't, what can you do to help them?

Chances are, the answer is no. According to a 2018 study, "73% of high school students are failing to meet" the recommended amount of sleep. How do you know if your child is getting the proper amount of sleep, and if they aren't, what can you do to help them?

How much sleep is the right amount?

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, pre-teens (ages 9-12) need about 9-12 hours of sleep, whereas teenagers (ages 13-19) should get between 8-10 hours.

Causes of teen sleep deprivation

Part of the problem is biology. According to Carrie Bruno, a registered nurse, teens undergo many hormonal changes during adolescence, including a changing circadian rhythm. Teens' bodies naturally want to go to sleep and wake up later, which can be challenging to navigate due to school, work, or sports practice schedules. Many parents don’t realize that simply sending their teen to bed early isn’t always a practical solution; their internal body clock means they’ll probably have trouble falling asleep.

In addition to circadian rhythm, adolescents face a host of other issues in regard to their sleep; changing hormones, caffeine, school/social anxiety, and electronic devices to name a few.

Consequences of teen sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation has adverse effects on everyone, but teens may be “hit especially hard”, says psychologist William D. “Scott” Killgore. Lack of sleep may result in increased irritability/moodiness, inability to self-regulate emotions, or increased depression or anxiety. In extreme cases, it could lead to increased substance use (such as caffeine and alcohol), suffering grades, and drowsiness while driving (in extreme cases, falling asleep at the wheel).

How to help

The first step in helping your teen who is struggling with sleep is to ensure you’re making changes as a family, so your teen feels like they’re part of the decision-making process. Every member of the family should be educated on the importance of sleep and sleep hygiene. It’s important that the adults in the household model healthy sleep behavior so your teen can learn by example.

Implementing rules such as: No caffeine past 12 PM No devices in bedrooms past 10 PM Specific bed and wake-up times for weekdays and weekends -Installing a sleep-tracking app, like SleepWatch, on each family member's phone to analyze and compare sleep Monitoring your child’s schoolwork and extracurricular activities to ensure they’re not overworked, burnt out, or missing out on sleep

…can go a long way toward improving sleep quality for not just your teen, but the whole family.

Did you enjoy this article? Be sure to check out Sleep & Mental Health next.

references

  1. Bruce, Ellen S, et al. “Sleep in Adolescents and Young Adults.” Clinical Medicine, vol. 17, no. 5, Oct. 2017, pp. 424–428, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6301929/, https://doi.org/10.7861/clinmedicine.17-5-424.

  2. Campbell, Leah. “Is Your Teen Getting Enough Sleep? 73% Don’t. Here’s Why.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 8 Oct. 2019, www.healthline.com/health-news/73-of-high-school-students-dont-get-enough-sleep.

  3. Garey, Juliann. “Teens and Sleep: The Cost of Sleep Deprivation.” Child Mind Institute, Child Mind Institute, 29 Jan. 2016, childmind.org/article/happens-teenagers-dont-get-enough-sleep/.

  4. Lite, Jordan. “Less Sleep Linked to Blues in Teens.” Scientific American Mind, vol. 21, no. 3, July 2010, pp. 10–10, https://doi.org/10.1038/scientificamericanmind0710-10. Accessed 31 Oct. 2019.

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