Effects of sleep deprivation on teens
We experience rapid growth and development between the ages of 12 and 22. That’s why good sleep during these years is so important. Too little sleep or inconsistent sleep puts teens at greater risk of:
- Aggressive, impulsive, and/or risky behavior
- Feeling unhappy, sad or depressed
- Poor academic performance
- Poor athletic performance
- Skin problems, including acne
- Substance use, including alcohol, nicotine and stimulants
- Traffic accidents
- Weight gain
How much sleep do teens need?
Studies show that teenagers need just over nine hours of sleep per night.
How to improve teen sleep
Help your teen make sleep a priority. To build better sleep habits, your teenager should:
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
- Avoid falling asleep while watching television or videos.
- Not consume caffeine after 2 p.m.
- Not take naps, or limit them to 15-20 minutes.
- Exercise routinely and eat a healthy diet.
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
- Go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Avoid bright light in the late afternoon and evening.
- Open window coverings first thing in the morning.
- Try to limit stress or find coping mechanisms to help with stress.
- Choose calm, quiet activities such as reading or puzzles an hour before bed.
- Avoid exercising, studying, TV, playing video games and using a smartphone an hour before bed.
Sleep disorders in teens
Talk to your doctor if you think your teen may have a sleep disorder. Common sleep disorders that affect teens include:
- Periodic limb movement disorder
- Restless leg syndrome
- Sleep apnea
- Delayed sleep phase disorder