Sleep guide for teens – Why teens need more sleep

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sleep guide for teens

Sleep guide for teens – Busy life of a teen

Today, teenage life is busy and in constant flux. They have increasing responsibilities at school and at home, their social lives are expanding, their independence is growing, and they are making plans for their future. This is a significant time of significant maturation – physical, emotional, and intellectual. Sleep is important for teens because of sleep fuels these important processes. Plenty of sleep is essential to teen’s development, growth, and quality of life.

Sleep guide for kids – what to expect

The average amount of sleep that teens need is 7 to 8 hours; however they need between 9 to 10 hours of sleep. Teens do not get enough sleep for a number of reasons.

  • The shift in sleep schedule – After puberty, there is a biological shift in a teenager’s internal clock of about 2 hours. That means if the teen is used to fall asleep at 9 pm will not be able to fall asleep until 11 pm, it also means waking up 2 hours later in the morning.
  • Early school start time – in most school districts, high schools start as early as 7 am, meaning some teenagers have to get up as early as 5 am to get ready for and travel to school.
  • The obligation in school and social life – School activities such as homework, sports and after-school activities which usually occur during the evening and socializing lead to late bedtimes.

As a result, most adolescents are very sleep deprived, and sleep deprivation will impact many aspects of a teen’s functioning.

Sleep guide for teens – why teens more sleep

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When teenagers lack these are the things that will affect them;

Sleep guide for teens – Mood

  • Mood – Sleep deprivation on teenagers will cause them to be moody, irritable, and cranky. In addition, the teen will have difficulty time regulating her mood, such as by getting frustrated or upset more easily.

Sleep guide for teens – Behaviour

  • Behavior – teens that are sleep deprived are also more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors, such as smoking, taking illegal drugs, alcohol, driving fast, and engaging in other dangerous activities.

Sleep guide for teens – Cognitive ability

  • Cognitive ability – inadequate sleep will result in problems with attention, memory, decision, reaction time, and creativity, all of which are important in school.

Sleep guide for teens – Academic performance

  • Academic performance – Research shows that teens that get less sleep are more apt to get poor grades in school, fall asleep in school, and have school tardiness or absences.

Sleep guide for teens – Drowsy Driving

  • Drowsy driving – Teens are at the highest risk for falling asleep at the wheel. Drowsy during is the most likely to occur in the middle of the night, around 1 am to 4 am, but also likely to happen in mid-afternoon around 3 to 4 pm

Sleep guide for teens – why are teens so sleep-deprived?

Biology, technology and societal expectations, including homework and extra-curricular, together create a perfect storm for chronic sleep deprivation. The major contributors to adolescent sleep debt come down to these:

Sleep guide for teens – sleep deprivation reason #1

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  • Biology – Along with the more obvious hormonal changes that transform your child into a teen are shifts in the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. That is why your teen actually seems more awake at midnight than at dinner and left alone would probably sleep until ten or eleven. That is the normal circadian rhythm for 15 to 22 years old. The problem is compounded when adolescents try to make up for lost sleep on the weekends, sometimes sleeping upwards of 12 hours on Friday and Saturday nights, which only further disrupts their sleep cycle.

Sleep guide for teens – sleep deprivation reason #2

  • Technology – It is not just Facebook, Instagram and other social media channels that keep kids up later, it is the actual light coming off the electronic devices they are exposed to, especially late at night. Electronics emit a glow that is called blue light has a particular frequency. When it hits receptors in the eye, those receptors send a signal to the brain that suppresses the production of melatonin and keeps kids from feeling tired. And teens are low on melatonin and start producing it later, to begin with.

Sleep guide for teens – sleep deprivation reason #3

  • Homework – Parents are torn between making kids go to bed early and encouraging them to finish their homework regardless of how long it takes. And for teens who are anxious about their homework, knowing that there may be a peer who stays up later or all night only adds to the anxiety, competitiveness, and desire to stay awake. Add to this the stimulating blue light emitted by computers being used to study and you’ve got a wide-awake kid.

Sleep guide for teens – sleep deprivation reason #4

  • Overscheduling – We now live in a culture that values activity over sleep. Teens are constantly being told that they have to be “well-rounded”, which means that the more that they do, the better their college applications will look. For some teens, being involved in a lot of extra-curricular activities may truly be a matter of pursuing a diversity of passions. But either way, sports, clubs, volunteering and after-school jobs on top of classes and homework leave an ever-narrowing window for sleep.

Sleep guide for teens – sleep deprivation reason #5

  • Early school start times – Very early high school start times are common, despite the fact that they run completely counter to the biological needs of adolescents. Multiple studies have shown that high school students are not functional before 9 am.

Sleep guide for teens – how can you help your teenager to get more sleep

There are lifestyle changes that middle-and-high-school students can make, and even several small changes can have a big effect on their well-being. Here is some expert advice on how to win back a couple of previous hours at night:

Sleep guide for teens – tip#1

  • Take a stand – Teens will resist, but there is evidence that parental help with limit-setting on study and sleep does help kids make better decisions about managing their time.

Sleep for teens – tip#2

  • Encourage consistency – It is important for your teen to go to bed as close as possible to the same time every night, and to get as close as possible to eight hours of sleep. But it is also important for the teen to stick to the same schedule.

Sleep guide for teens – tip#3

  • Limit screen time – Emphasize the importance of turning off all electronic devices a minimum of one hour before bedtime. Plan ahead so that homework that needs to be done on a screen is completed by early evening and “off-screen” work is saved for later at night.

Sleep guide for teens  – simplify

Teenagers need you to help them set realistic goals and expectations for how many activities they can get involved in without burning out. That means limiting pressure to build the ultimate college resume. Set a good example for sleep habits for your teens by making sleep part of living a healthy lifestyle.