Teens need to sleep for nine to nine-and-a-half hours each night for sound health. According to studies, some teenagers do not get sufficient sleep on a daily basis and sleep only for six to seven hours due to which, they fall asleep in the class. Besides, sleep deficiency can affect teens in various ways.
Following are some of the causes that lead to sleep deprivation in teens:
a) Internal causes
- Pubertal changes – There will be a natural shift in the sleep timings during puberty called as “sleep phase delay” which will make a teen sleep around 10-11PM instead of 8-9PM.
- Health issues – Illnesses like epilepsy or asthma can cause sleeping difficulties in teens.
- Emotional issues – Mood swings and emotional imbalance can cause sleep issues, which result in depression.
b) External causes
- Environment – Home and bedroom environment (TV, cell phones, electronic gaming, residing near a noisy place, etc.) can keep teens awake for a long duration.
- Light – Any form of light (televisions, mobile phones and computers) prevents the production of melatonin which is responsible for sleep. These cues cause the brain to stay awake till late in the night.
- School and play time – Many teens indulge in extracurricular activities post-school hours. These activities may delay the completion of their home works which may make them go to sleep late. Since most of the schools begin very early, the teen might not have had a sufficient sleep which can make them feel fatigued during the class hours.
- Social stress – Peer pressure is unavoidable. Staying awake till late in the night due to movies, pubs etc. often can disturb their sleep patterns.
- Substance use – Teens having caffeine or nicotine after 4 PM will keep them awake till late hours of the night.
Effects of lack of sleep
Lack of sleep can affect different phases of a teen’s life, which include:
- Poor academic performance due to reduced attention span, memory impairment and increased sick leaves.
- Behavioural change such as moodiness, aggression,irritation and risk-taking behaviour.
- Reduced sporting performance due to lack of enthusiasm and fatigue.
- Lack of sleep can increase drowsiness which increases the chances of accidents.
Tips to make your teen, sleep well
Do not argue with your teenager about bedtime. It may not be the solution. Instead, work together with few inspiring ways to increase their sleep duration such as:
- Allow your teen to sleep during weekends.
- Encourage an early night every Sunday.
- Limit brain stimulating activity such as homework, television, computer games, etc. to early evening. Promote restful activities during the later evening, such as reading, discussions etc.
- Schedule their after-school commitments/keep the extracurricular activities to a minimum so that they have enough time to rest and sleep.
- Encourage a short nap after school to help recharge them if they have time.