Why sleep is so important for teenagers
Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep every night. However, a lot of parents don’t realise that their teenagers need eight to ten hours of sleep per night. Teens are known for their odd sleep habits, especially for staying up late and sleeping in until the middle of the day. Those who have noticed their teenager always feels sleepy or finds it hard to get out of bed in the morning, it may be because they might not be getting enough sleep. Ask the teen if they have trouble staying awake in class or feel an overwhelming need to go to sleep as soon as they get home from school. If they do, it’s important to take a close look at the quantity and quality of their sleep.
Why teenagers need more sleep
Sleep is when cells repair themselves. It’s also when the body gets rid of metabolic waste products. When a person sleeps, their brain forms connections that allow them to make memories and remember important information. Teens are in a rapid stage of physical and mental growth and their bodies need the sleep to recharge their energy, repair their cells and grow. They also need sleep for mood regulation, a strong immune system and to be at their best when learning.
How much sleep teens need
Most teens don’t get enough sleep. School, homework, jobs, extracurricular activities, family obligations and a social life often get in the way. Families should support their teen’s need for a solid eight to ten hours of sleep every day.
Why it’s important for teens to get enough sleep
It might not seem like a big deal to pull an all-nighter studying for an exam or hanging out at a friend’s house. However, a teenager who misses even one night of sleep or who is chronically sleep-deprived may experience a wide range of mental, emotional and physical consequences. They may struggle in school and have issues with motivation, concentration and memory. Teens already have a higher risk of auto accidents and sleep deprivation greatly increases that risk. Sleepiness slows reaction times as much as consuming alcohol does. A lack of sleep can lead to depression in teenagers, which can become a serious mental health condition. Teens who don’t get enough sleep may gain weight and have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and other medical problems.
Signs a teen needs more sleep
A teen who needs more sleep may have trouble getting up in the morning. They may move slowly. They often feel moody or depressed. Their moods can be irregular and even volatile. Sleep-deprived teens may fall asleep during class or have trouble concentrating at different times of the day.
Why it’s hard for teens to get the sleep they need
Teenagers have circadian rhythms that are different from those of adults. When the house is quiet, teens may want to be up in order to take advantage of the privacy. With homework, sports, chores, jobs, socialising and family life, it might be hard to relax, unwind and make sleep a priority. Parents may push their teens to do more and teens might end up sacrificing sleep. Internal pressure or pressure from outside sources to be better, faster or smarter can also impact a teenager’s ability to get enough sleep every night.
How to help teens get enough sleep
Sleep hygiene is important. Make sure teenagers have a supportive, comfortable mattress. If they’re still using the same queen mattress they had ten years ago, it’s time for a new mattress. Turn off devices at least one hour before bedtime. Teens should use their beds only for sleep, not for homework, texting or chatting. Make sure teens go to bed at the same time each night. Keep the room dark, quiet and cool. Create a consistent bedtime routine, such as putting on pyjamas, brushing teeth, doing some light stretches and spending five minutes on a mindfulness or other relaxing activity, such as colouring or writing in a journal.
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