Why Teens Need More Sleep

It’s normal during the teen years for kids to stay up late and neglect getting adequate sleep at night. My teens would be hanging out online, playing video games, doing homework, going to late practices or spending time with friends and they often didn’t think that they needed a curfew, much less a bedtime to get enough sleep. We have all been there, those angsty teen years where we think that we know everything and think we can survive with little to no sleep. The sad reality is that teens actually need a lot of sleep to function properly. Because it is “normal” for teens to get buy on little sleep and then crash once in awhile, parents and pediatricians can miss the symptoms of teens being tired. With that being said, as a parent to a teen you must understand that teens need more sleep and here’s why:

More Alertness
Teens often have very busy schedules that include large workloads for school, extra-curricular activities as well as a job for extra money. A teen should have a solid 9 hours of sleep each night to ensure they are alert and functioning properly. When teens don’t sleep enough their brains are slow, their learning is slowed and they will not perform as well as they are capable of in school. Their extra curricular activities and jobs can suffer as well.

Stable Emotions
Sleep deprivation is one of the main causes for unstable moods. Teens already have trouble coping with emotions from raging hormones and the less sleep they get the less apt they are to control their fluctuating feelings.  They also become more at risk for mental health issues. When your teen gets more sleep, they will start to have more stable emotions and less teen angst.

Helps Them Physically
Teaching your teens to get enough sleep will ensure that they keep a sleep-wake balance in life. Human beings of any age need to have a balance of adequate sleep and wake time to maintain proper brain function and proper health. Very importantly to teens physical progress is that we grow when we sleep. Our body also repairs and heals itself when we sleep. When we sleep, our brain and bodies get the downtime they need to recover and rejuvenate  from the learning and physical activities of the day. This helps them with everything from exceeding in school to performing better in sports.

Enjoy the Weekend
Teens need more sleep because when they get enough sleep during the weekdays they will be less apt to sleep in over the weekend. This is especially helpful during school season so that your teen can enjoy their two day break from the high demands school brings. Many teens catch up on their sleep over the weekends but then get upset that they slept the weekend away. Parents and families often suffer when teens sleeping and are not enjoying family time or getting chores done. If this is the scenario for your teen, try to help educate them about their need for sleep. Offer to help them plan a routine that can help them get more sleep during the week so they can have more of their weekends to enjoy.

When you encourage your teen to get more sleep on a regular basis, you are helping them learn how to balance their sleep-wake cycle. Teens who get more sleep will ultimately be happier, healthier and more apt to reach their full potential in all things.  A solid sleep schedule allows your teen to be more alert to the world around them and in turn more successful in their academics.