Teens are known to be so full of energy, so filled with life, and yet, they can be sleepy all the time. Research shows that almost all teens do not get the sleep that they need every day. Every person has their own sleep requirements. This need may vary from one person to another one. Teens are at a crucial stage of their growth and development. Because of this, they have more sleep than adults.
The common teen needs about nine hours of sleep each night to feel alert and well-rested. Many factors keep teens from getting enough sleep. Causes for his or her lack of sleep include the following- rapidly changing bodies, busy schedules, active social lives, etc. “Teen” sleep problems can begin long before they actually turn 13. The sleep habits and changing bodies of 10 to 12-year-olds have an in-depth link to the teenage years. The knowledge found here may apply to anyone from 10 to 25 years old as teenage sleep problems can continue till adult life as well.
Why is sleep important for teens?
Sleep is significant for people of any age. For growing teens going through rapid mental, physical, social, and emotional development, quality sleep is more important than ever.
Thinking and academic achievement
Sleep benefits the brain and promotes attention, memory, and analytical thought. It makes thinking sharper, recognizing the foremost important information to consolidate learning. Sleep also facilitates expansive thinking that may spur creativity. Whether it is studying for a test, learning an instrument, or acquiring job skills, sleep is crucial for teens. Given the importance of sleep for brain function, it is easy to determine why teens who do not get enough sleep tend to suffer from excessive drowsiness and lack of attention which will harm their academic performance.
Most people have experienced how sleep can affect mood, causing irritability and exaggerated emotional reactions. Over time, the implications are even greater for teens who are adapting to more independence, responsibility, and new social relationships. Prolonged sleep loss may negatively affect emotional development, increasing risks of interpersonal conflict and serious mental problems in the future. Mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and manic-depressive psychosis have routinely been linked to poor sleep, and sleep deprivation in teens can increase the danger of suicide.
Physical health and development
Sleep contributes to the effective function of every system of the body. It empowers the system, helps regulate hormones, and enables muscle and tissue recovery. Substantial physical development happens during adolescence and might be negatively affected by the absence of sleep. For example, researchers have found that adolescents who fail to get enough sleep to have a troubling metabolic profile that will put them at higher risk of diabetes and long-term cardiovascular problems.
Decision-making and risky behavior
Sleep deprivation can affect the functioning of the frontal lobe, part of the brain that is critical to managing impulsive behavior. Not surprisingly, numerous studies have found that teens who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to interact in high-risk behaviors like drunk driving, texting while driving, riding a bicycle without a helmet, and failing to use a seatbelt. Drug and alcohol use, smoking, risky sexual behavior, fighting, and carrying a weapon have also been identified as more likely in teens who get insufficient sleep.
Accidents and injuries
Insufficient sleep in teens can make them susceptible to injury and even death. Of particular concern is an elevated risk of accidents deu to drowsy driving by teen learners. Studies have found that sleep deprivation can reduce reaction times as that of serious alcohol consumption. In teens, the impact of drowsy driving may be amplified by an absence of driving experience and distracted driving.
What is keeping teens from getting good sleep?
Often, going to bed an hour earlier can resolve sleep issues and help you feel alert and productive. But sometimes there are other reasons for disturbed sleep. Here are some medical conditions that cause sleep problems:
Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome may be a creeping, crawling sensation within the legs that makes you annoyed and you keep moving your legs. It sometimes starts between ages 11 and 20. Not only does it disturb sleep, but it is also linked with involuntary jerking movements of the legs during sleep, called periodic leg movements of sleep (PLMS). It takes your sleep away, as well as your bed partner’s.
Snoring and obstructive sleep disorder
Snoring occurs when airflow is restricted and therefore the soft tissues within the back of the throat vibrate. While snoring is annoying and causes poor sleep, it is also a signal of a more serious disorder called Obstructive apnea (OSA). OSA involves a severe narrowing of your airway. Your lungs don’t get enough fresh air, therefore the brain wakes you up simply enough to catch your breath and unlock the air duct. If you snore loudly or have excessive daytime sleepiness, seek advice from your doctor.
Some teens suffer from reflux disease (GERD), which generally occurs at nighttime after you are lying down and interrupts your sleep. Normally, a muscular valve between the esophagus and therefore the gastric system prevents stomach acids from backing up into the esophagus. In GERD, this valve doesn’t work properly. The stomach acid gets into the esophagus. The irritation and inflammation caused interferes with the sleep cycle.
Get Better Sleep
If you want to relax and follow good bedtime hygiene yet still cannot get enough restful sleep, talk to your sleep specialist. If your doctor suspects you may have a disorder, you may be referred for a sleep study, called polysomnography. The sleep study will help determine if you have got apnea, restless legs syndrome, or another problem. All of those disorders require specific therapy that your doctor can prescribe.
If you do not have a specific medical sleep disorder, then you can follow some sleep tips:
- Prepare a bedtime routine and stick to it, even on weekends. Tone down loud music or flashing computer screens as you get yourself against the bed. Experts advise to switch off screen devices like laptops and cell phones so your sleep is not interrupted by blue light or notifications. Usage of electronic devices even an hour before bedtime can interfere with sleep.
- Avoid sugar as it can cause sudden increase in your glucose levels. This could then cause you to get up within the middle of the night when your glucose drops low.
- Be careful of what you drink. Caffeine, including caffeinated teas and coffees, and carbonated drinks are all stimulants to avoid.
- While regular exercise helps you sleep more soundly, you must avoid exercise right before bedtime.
- When you wake up in the morning, let in the sunlight as soon as possible. Avoid bright light within the evening. Light regulates your sleep cycle and tells your brain when it is time to “wake up” or “go to sleep.”
- Prevent noise from reaching your bedroom, Wear earplugs if your room is prone to noise at night. You might find that playing white noise from a podcast, radio static, or a noise machine, can help.
- Take a warm bath before bedtime. The cooling phase of your body’s temperature cycle makes you sleep. After your warm bath, reduce the temperature in your bedroom gradually to calm the body down and go to sleep.
- Have a comfortable bedding and sleeping environment. Invest in a good mattress from Livpure for the best sleep you can get. Choose from a wide variety of relaxing premium mattresses for yourself, or for your teenage child, for them to have many nights of good sleep. Aid sleeping with the addition of pillows, all available on Livpure’s website.