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Is Your Teen Getting Enough Sleep?

Is your teenager moody? That may be because they’re a teenager, or because they’re not getting enough sleep. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, teenagers aged 13-18 need 8-10 hours of sleep every night. Unfortunately, only about 25% of teenagers get enough sleep. So, chances are your teen doesn’t get the sleep they need. Here’s why that should concern you.

 

In addition to moodiness, not getting enough sleep puts your child at a higher risk of obesity, injuries, attention issues, and diabetes. Not getting enough sleep can also impact your teen’s academic performance and cognitive abilities as well as their athletic capabilities. Furthermore, studies show that sleep deficit in teenagers is associated with higher levels of depression. 

Why are teens not getting enough sleep?

There are a variety of biological, academic, and social issues that interfere with teens getting 8-10 hours of shuteye. In addition to the hormonal changes your child goes through as they transition from a child to a teen and young adult, there is also a shift in melatonin, which is the sleep hormone. 

 

More melatonin is released later at night for teens than it is for younger kids and even adults. This may be why your teen is up late texting or checking their social media accounts. Texting, social media, and digital devices, in general, is another reason your teen is up later than they should be.

 

The pull to communicate via digital devices may keep your teen up even past the time they may be tired. In addition to the addiction to social media, the blue light emitted from these devices also works against your child hitting the hay at a reasonable time. 

 

And lastly, homework, after school activities, and early school start times keep your kids up late and force them to wake up early. It’s a confounding situation with no clear solution.  

How to help your teen get enough sleep

While your child’s sleep problems may seem too challenging to tackle, our team at Liberty Pediatrics here in Vestavia, Alabama put together this list of suggestions to help your teen get more of the sleep they need to thrive.

 

Enjoy sunlight 

Start the day off with breakfast outside or by a window to help set your child’s biological clock to wake up early naturally, and subsequently make them tired at a reasonable hour at night.

Stick to a sleep schedule

Try to encourage your child to go to sleep and wake up the same time every day, including weekends. It’s normal for your child to want to sleep in on weekends, but try not to let them veer too far from their weekday wake time. 

Decorate their room for sleep

Make sure your child’s room invites a good night’s sleep. Consider getting blackout curtains that can help them block out streetlights and other lights that can interfere with sleep, but be sure to open those curtains wide in the morning to let the sunlight in. Keep the room cool and quiet. 

Ban electronics

Make it easy for them to put their cellphone down. Make it a rule to turn off electronics at a certain time and also to keep them out of the room at night. If your child uses their phone or digital device as an alarm, buy them an alarm clock.  


For more information about teen health and sleep issues, call Liberty Pediatrics to get personalized recommendations for your child, as well as a screening for any major sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia. You can also make an appointment online.

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