A lot of parents may be confused by how much sleep their teens need. Is their energy too low? Are they not eating right? Are they just not sleeping when they should? For some this may be the case but for most teens it is the fact that teens actually do require more sleep than those older or younger than them. And when they don’t get the sleep they need it can lead to some detrimental results.
The National Sleep Foundation states that teenagers require around nine hours and 25 minutes of sleep each night to function their best though for some eight hours and thirty minutes may suffice. On top of that, as children grow into their teenage years their sleeping patterns shift to later times for sleeping and waking so it may become more common for teens to be unable to fall asleep before 11 p.m. Most teens, however, do not get enough sleep with only 15 percent stating that they got eight hours and 30 minutes worth of sleep on a school night.
Lack of sleep can be a serious issue. Studies have shown that going without sleep for 17 to 19 hours can match the equivalent mental performance as having a 0.05 percent Blood Alcohol Level. For those teens who aren’t getting enough sleep due to workloads from school, irregular sleeping patterns or a sleeping disorder it can have some negative consequences. It is easy to imagine that a lack of sleep can cause your teen to have a limited ability to learn, listen, concentrate and solve problems and it may make them more prone to forgetfulness. It can also affect their physical health by creating more acne and other skin problems, and may encourage unhealthy eating of foods such as sweets or fried foods which may cause weight gain. A lack of sleep may even cause your teen to be more prone to illness. It can affect their attitude as it can lead to aggressive behavior and impatience.
These are obvious problems but there can be worse results should a teenager continue to be sleep deprived. Those teens who exhibit symptoms of depression are more likely to have sleep problems. At least 73 percent of those teens who reported symptoms of unhappiness, sadness or depression also reported that they weren’t getting enough sleep at night. This depressed mood which is caused by lack of sleep can even end up causing a further lack of sleep creating a vicious and tiring cycle.
For those teens who aren’t getting enough sleep there are a few different ways to help reset their bodies, allowing them to create good sleeping patterns and get the sleep they need. A few of these can include:
In cases where your teen is suffering from a sleeping problem it may be time to seek medical help so they can get their needed hours. In some cases, insomnia or hypersomnia may actually be symptomatic of a mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety. You may want to discuss this with your doctor and, if your teen does have depression, discuss the proper treatment for their mental health issue.
Sleep is an important part of a teen’s development and vital for them to function well in school, work and in their relationships. To find out more about mental health disorders that cause sleep problems and mental health treatment, please call 866-615-7266.
Written by Brianna Gibbons, Sovereign Health Group writer