As a teen, life can be stressful. You’re balancing classes, extracurricular activities, a social life, a family life, and still somehow it is expected that you get 8 – 10 hours of sleep every night. With balancing everything, staying up late to do homework or study, it seems impossible. In this blog, we’ll tell you some facts about teens and sleep, the consequences of not getting enough sleep, and how to fix that.
Facts About Teen’s Sleep
- Sleep can help you eat better and manage stress. Sleep is just as important as eating healthy and drinking water. As a teenager, it can help with all of that.
- Sleeping schedules are skewed in your teens. Some parents give their teens a hard time about going to bed late and waking up late. But as a teenager, biological sleep patterns can make it so you’re not able to fall asleep before 11:00 p.m.
- Most teens aren’t getting enough sleep. To be at your best, a teen needs 8 – 10 hours of sleep. In one study, only 15% of teens reported sleeping 8 ½ hours on school nights.
- Irregular sleep patterns can hurt their quality of sleep. While this is true for almost everyone, teens don’t have a consistent biological clock. Staying up late on the weekends and sleeping in late can hurt their sleep patterns.
- Most teenagers suffer from sleep disorders. These are typically treatable, but teens can have insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or restless leg syndrome.
The Consequences of Poor Sleep for Teens
- Decreased performance in daily tasks. Lack of sleep can limit your ability to learn, listen, concentrate, and problem solve. It could also play into your memory. You can forget important names, numbers, homework, and more.
- Sleeping issues can contribute to skin problems. You can be more prone to acne when you don’t get enough sleep.
- Aggressive or inappropriate behavior problems. Being tired can make people moody. Teens act out by yelling at their friends, being impatient with teachers, or being impatient with family members.
- Unhealthy food cravings. Lack of sleep can cause teens to eat too much or eat foods like sweets, fried foods, or any other foods that lead to weight gain.
- Contribute to illnesses. Sleep difficulties can lower your immune system and leave you more open to illnesses.
How to Make Sure Teens Get Enough Sleep
- Make sleep a priority. Decide what you need to change to make sure you get enough sleep.
- Take naps but know when it’s not a good idea. Naps can make you feel better and make you more efficient. However, if you take a nap that is too long or too close to bedtime, it can hurt your sleep.
- Create a sleep haven in your room. Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and dark. Eye-shades or blackout curtains can help keep out the light. You should let in the bright light when you need to wake up in the morning.
- Avoid pills, vitamins, or drinks to replace sleep. Coffee, tea, soda and chocolate all contain caffeine. Consuming these too late in the day can hurt your sleep. Nicotine and alcohol also hurt your sleep.
- Make a sleep schedule. Giving yourself a bedtime and wake-up time and sticking to it – even on the weekends – will help your body develop a natural pattern. It will make it easier to fall asleep. Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule will help with your long-term sleep patterns.
- Don’t eat, drink, or exercise before you go to bed. Try to avoid looking at your phone, tablet, or any bright lights in about an hour before bedtime. Stick to calm, quiet activities.
- Give yourself a bedtime routine. If you do the same things every night before bed, your body will get used to the routine and it will signal that it’s time for bed. This could be something like taking a bath or shower, reading a book, etc.
Changing your habits to get better sleep isn’t going to happen overnight. It will take time for you and your body to get used to these changes. Don’t be discouraged if things don’t seem better right away.