Sleep is not only rests the brain and the body but is also literally food for the brain. Sleep problems can occur at any age or stage of life and teenage is no exception. Research on teens and sleep disorders show that sleep deprivation can affect negatively both physical and mental development.
Teens and Sleep: Important Facts
Studies on teens and sleep cycle show that at this age the biological sleep clock shifts towards later times. It is therefore generally accepted that it’s natural for teens to sleep late (say after 11 pm) and wake up late. However, the school program may not allow for this “luxury” and teens are forced to sleep late but still wake up early.
Teens and sleep studies show that an average teen needs about 9 ¼ hours to function properly during the day. 8 ½ hours of sleep among teens is also acceptable. However, statistics on teens and sleep show that only 15% of teen sleep for the minimum 8 ½ especially on school days.
Additional surveys on teens and sleep have found that teens have irregular sleep pattern all week through. They may seem to sleep well at weekend but they do not. Teens will sleep even later on weekend and wake up late than weekdays. This only serves to confuse the natural sleep cycle even further leading to sleep problems.
Teens and Sleep: Common Disorders
The following are common teens and sleep disorders:
- Restless leg syndrome.
- Sleep apnea.
Teens and sleep studies identified that following are the most common effects of sleep deprivation among teens:
- It affects the ability to learn and solve simple problems. It can make you unable to keep and remember important information like names of friends, when to submit homework or to meet with a special friend.
- Studies on teens and sleep deprivation show that cases of pimples are more prevalent among sleep deprived teens.
- Sleep disorders in teens is a major cause of irritability and aggressiveness.
- Lowers your immune levels leading to increased cases of diseases.
- Teens and sleep surveys show that it is related to higher rates of road accidents.
- Puts you in conflict with your parents and school authorities due to lateness and forgetfulness.
As you can see, sleep disorders can affect all parts of a teen’s life. This does not have to be so. Here are tips on how to improve the quality of your sleep:
- Make a list of your priority activities everyday. All the activities should be squeezed into day hours to give you plenty of time to sleep. Remember that your sleep time should not be less than 8 ½ hours everyday.
- If you feel really sleepy during the day, take a nap as it can help improve concentration. You nap should not be too long or near regular sleep time.
- Teen and sleep research has shown that caffeine causes more serious insomnia in teens than in adults and should therefore be avoided.
- Establish and maintain a regular sleep schedule that should not be interrupted even at weekend.
- Try not to exercise or do heavy activities 4 hours before going to bed.
- Resist the peer pressure of stay all night watching T.V or playing computer games especially on school days.