Why Sleep is Important for Teens
Why is sleep good for teens?
Sleep is important for teens because it is how our bodies repair themselves! Sleeping can help us prevent infections, rebuild our muscles and can even help our brains work better so that we can focus, prevent mood problems and helps our bodies function better.
How many hours a night should teens sleep?
The average teen needs 9-10 hours of sleep, some may need a little less and some may need a little bit more sleep each night.
What are the challenges for getting 9-10 hours of sleep?
- Early morning school start times
- Working or after school activities
- A natural shift in circadian rhythm, which makes it harder to go to bed early and wake up early for school.
What is Delayed Sleep Phase?
The delayed sleep phase is when a teenager’s biological clock or circadian rhythm shifts, which starts around 13 years of age and goes until the early 20s. Teens may have difficulty going to sleep early, want to stay up later, and want to sleep in later in the morning.
How is Delayed Sleep Phase treated?
It can help to keep a standard wake-up time and being sure to count backwards from your bed time to get 9 hours of sleep. Using electronics before bed and taking naps during the day can make it hard to fall asleep on time, so avoiding these would be the best practice.
What about screen time?
Screen time, such as using a phone, tablet, or watching TV, interrupts a person’s ability to go to sleep because of the light from the screen can impact the release of melatonin, which is a natural chemical that helps us feel sleepy. When you use a screen, it prevents the melatonin release and can make us stay up later. Also, using your fingers or clicking on a device can also release dopamine, another chemical which can keep us awake for longer.
How is sleeping related to eating?
Studies have shown if a person does not enough sleep, they are more likely to choose unhealthier foods and to eat later at night.
What about caffeine?
Caffeine can help keep a person awake and make it harder to fall asleep. Sometimes, having caffeine in the morning can even impact your ability to fall asleep at night!
3 tips for a good night’s sleep:
- Keep a consistent bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends.
- Try to get rid of electronics at least an hour before bed.
- If you are still having trouble sleeping after having a consistent bed time, not using screens before bed, and not drinking caffeine, you may need to see a Sleep Specialist to help!