Not only do teenagers always seem to be sleepy, but adolescents also frequently deal with sleep disturbances, insomnia, and insufficient sleep. Getting enough rest at night supports your teenager’s developing body and mind. Without enough sleep, you might start seeing signs of physical, emotional, or mental health deterioration.
So how much sleep is enough sleep for your growing teenager? Gyula Soos, MD, FAAP recommends at least nine to nine and a half hours of sleep each night, although studies show teenagers in the United States often only sleep for seven hours per night. Dr. Soos offers expert adolescent care services from our Dublin, Georgia office. Here’s what he suggests you should know about your teenager’s sleep needs.
The stress of sleeplessness
We all struggle when we don’t get enough sleep, but unique factors in your teen’s life and biology make over-tiredness even harder to deal with for them than it is for adults.
Studies show that many US teens don’t get enough sleep at night, a lack that has observable adverse impacts on their health and wellbeing. Not getting enough sleep can lead to problems, including:
- Mood disturbances and poor mood regulation
- Risk-taking behaviors
- Decreased cognitive ability, including memory and attention issues
Whether your teen is taking an important test or driving through a busy intersection, their awareness, alertness, and good decision-making skills need to be at their best. If your teen is too sleepy, they may struggle with school, mood issues, or even dangerous behaviors.
Factors that disrupt a teenager’s rest
Despite the fact that teenagers really need to get enough rest, a lot of factors in their lives might make a solid night’s sleep a challenge. Your teenager might be dealing with:
- Changes in their internal biological clock throwing off their sleep schedule
- Early start times for school or other activities requiring them to wake up too soon
- Increased personal and school-related obligations taking up more and more of their time
Even though adolescence can seem like a peaceful period of life, free from many of the pressures of adulthood, in fact, many teenagers struggle with stress. Teens live very full lives, with new experiences and changes around every corner. Finding ways to help them rest and recharge is key to getting your teenager through a healthy adolescence.
How you can help
Teenagers tend to strive for independence, especially around personal choices, like their sleep schedule. However, don’t underestimate how much support at home can help even the most stubborn or resistant young people.
At home, try to maintain a regular sleep schedule. While it might seem tempting to “catch up” on sleep, your teen needs to build up a regular rhythm for sleep, not alternate under- and oversleeping. If your teen really needs extra sleep, an early afternoon nap lasting for about 15-20 minutes can make a big difference.
Your teenager should avoid caffeine, smoking, alcohol, and other nonprescription drugs, as all of these can lead to increased sleep disturbances. Using stimulating technologies, like computers, gaming consoles, or television, right before bed can make it harder for your teenager to fall asleep.
If you’re concerned about your teen’s sleep, either in terms of quality or quantity, contact Dr. Soos Pediatrics today. Dr. Soos can advise you on the best way to support your teen’s sleep needs. To schedule your consultation appointment, call our Dublin, Georgia office, or use the online booking tool.