The Average Bedtime for Teenagers
Teenagers are notorious for not getting enough sleep and being cranky when they get up in the morning for school. According to the neurosciences center at Nationwide Children's hospital, teenagers need nine to 9 1/2 hours of sleep each night 1. Teenagers do not get an adequate amount of sleep each night for many reasons, including school, sports and family obligations. Sleep deprivation can affect your teen's daily functioning, so it is important to establish a bedtime that gives your teen enough time to complete his day's activities and still be well-rested the next day.
Facts on Sleep
According to Nationwide Children's Hospital, most teens get seven to 7 1/2 hours of sleep each night, which isn't enough to feel completely rested 1. One study, cited by the National Sleep Foundation, found that only 15 percent of teens get 8 1/2 hours of sleep each night 2. Teens experience a biological shift in their body's sleep clock after going through puberty. Also, melatonin, which is the body's sleep chemical, is secreted between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m., which makes it difficult for teens to fall asleep early and not wake up fully until after the body leaves the sleep cycle, according to an article on the University of Minnesota website.
Causes of Sleep Deprivation
Early high school start times are a primary cause of sleep deprivation. Schools typically begin around 7 a.m., which can mean getting up at 5 a.m. for some teens in order to get ready and get to the bus stop. Many teens also have clubs, sports, and family and social obligations along with homework to do after school, which leads to going to bed late and getting up early the next day for school.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation doesn't only lead to falling asleep in the middle of history class. According to the Nationwide Children's Hospital, sleep deprivation can lead to irritability, overall moodiness and frustration 1. In addition, teens that don't get enough sleep are more likely to participate in risky activities such as speeding while driving. Lack of sleep can also lead to poorer academic performance, slower reaction times, and makes it harder for teens to pay attention and retain information.
Solutions to Sleep Deprivation
Take steps to give your teen a bedtime that gives them enough sleep to function the next day, while keeping other obligations in mind. Turn off TVs and video games before bed because they stimulate the mind and can make it difficult to fall asleep. Avoid allowing your teen to oversleep too much on the weekends, which throws off the body's natural schedule. Encourage your teen to take a quick 15-minute nap in the afternoon if they need a slight refresher.
Choosing the Bedtime
Teens should get about nine hours of sleep at night. Take the time your child needs to get up for school and subtract nine hours. Give your teen a slightly later wake-up time if he is quick in the morning, or slightly earlier if he likes to shower in the morning instead of at night. In addition, establish a time an hour or two before bed when all homework needs to be completed to ensure that it isn't pushed back until the last minute.
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- Nationwide Children's Hospital: Sleep in Adolescents (13-18 Years)
- National Sleep Foundation: Teens and Sleep
- National Sleep Foundation. Teens and Sleep.
- Owens JA, Weiss MR. Insufficient sleep in adolescents: causes and consequences. Minerva Pediatr. 2017 Aug;69(4):326-336. doi:10.23736/S0026-4946.17.04914-3
- Crowley SJ, Wolfson AR, Tarokh L, Carskadon MA. An update on adolescent sleep: New evidence informing the perfect storm model. J Adolesc. 2018;67:55-65. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2018.06.001
- Pizza F, Contardi S, Antognini AB, et al. Sleep quality and motor vehicle crashes in adolescents. J Clin Sleep Med. 2010;6(1):41–45.
- LeBourgeois MK, Hale L, Chang AM, Akacem LD, Montgomery-Downs HE, Buxton OM. Digital media and sleep in childhood and adolescence. Pediatrics. 2017;140(Suppl 2):S92-S96. doi:10.1542/peds.2016-1758J
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