Good Night! Teens and Sleep

Falling AsleepMost (if not all) teens love sleeping, but more often than not they don’t get enough. Sleep is vital to our well–being because while we sleep, our bodies carry out important functions such as strengthening our immune system. Teens are supposed to get 8 ½ to 9 hours of sleep on average every night; however, most teens don’t get the recommended amount. This results in sleep deprivation, which leads to a decrease in physical and mental functioning. Being sleep deprived can affect your relationships with your friends and family and it can also affect your school performance big time!

It’s normal for teens to have difficulty falling asleep before 11 o’clock at night because biologically, our sleep patterns shift during adolescence. Since we naturally fall asleep later and get up early to go to school or work, we often sleep in on the weekends. This actually creates an irregular sleeping pattern which affects the quality of sleep. You can’t catch up on lost sleep; therefore the idea of sleeping in to make up for the sleep you didn’t get during the week won’t actually do any good. Instead, it will confuse your body and stop it from getting a sense of when it should fall asleep and wake up. Consequently, you’re likely to feel tired even after sleeping an extra three or four hours.

Aside from the change in sleep patterns, some teens also suffer from insomnia due to things such as stress. People who suffer from insomnia have a hard time falling asleep or feeling well rested after sleeping a long time. It’s normal to experience insomnia from time to time, but if you suffer with disordered sleep patterns that last for over a month, you should see your health care provider.

Here are some tips to have a good night’s sleep so you’ll feel well rested:

  • Take short power naps during the day and avoid taking long naps or sleeping before your bedtime, as this can interfere with your
    regular sleep cycle.
  • Establish a consistent bed time and wake time routine–try to keep this routine on weekends. Consistency will allow your body to adjust and it will make it easier for you to fall asleep.
  • Relax your brain–turn down the volume on your Ipod and avoid using the computer or watching TV an hour before you go to sleep.

-Erica

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