Sleep is like food for the brain. Without sleep, many of our daily activities are affected. While the recommended amount of sleep for teens is 8-10 hours every night, most teens only sleep an average of 7 hours or less per night. At puberty, there is a shift in the sleep pattern. The body will not be able to sleep until two hours after the usual sleep time and also wake up two hours later than usual. As a result, many teens may experience sleep problems.
What keeps you from getting enough sleep?
- School- the academic schedule, especially in high school, often requires teens to stay up later to finish homework while waking up earlier to go to school.
- Technology- the increase use of the internet and other social media outlets cuts into sleep time.
- Social activities- a busy social schedule leaves little time for sleep
- Stress- stress from school, relationships, can wreck sleeping patterns
What happens when you do not get enough sleep?
- Weight gain- poor eating habits and cravings for unhealthy foods
- Mood swings- more irritable, frustrated, angry, or depressed
- Decreased concentration- poorer grades, learning ability, and problem solving skills; more accident prone
- Drowsiness- clumsy behavior, slower reflexes
- Complexion changes- more pimples, bags under the eyes, oily skin
- Behavior changes- more risk-taking and aggressive actions
- Health problems- higher risk for obesity, heart disease, diabetes
Tips for better sleep habits
- Establish a consistent sleep schedule- go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends
- Increase light exposure during the day to help reset your sleep-wake cycle.
- Create an environment in your room that allows for good sleeping conditions, such as a cool room and low lighting.
- Avoid long naps
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid caffeinated drinks, alcohol, smoking or large meals late at night
- Avoid watching TV, looking at a computer, talking/texting on the phone or strenuous exercise at least an hour before bedtime
- Reduce and manage emotional distress
- Limit social engagements and mange your time wisely