We have talked in-depth about how much sleep infants and children need, so now let’s move on to the most dynamic age group: our teenagers.
Teens are making the transition from childhood to adulthood, and sleep is critical to all aspects of their growth into adults. In this article, we will look into the amount of sleep teenagers need, why they need sleep, and how to make sure they are following healthy sleep habits.
Teens go through a lot between the ages of 12 and 18, and sleep may not always be their priority. On the other hand, sleep might be your teenager’s ONLY priority.
Keeping an Eye on Your Teens Sleep Patterns
Whether they are staying up late or sleeping until the afternoon, parents need to keep an eye on their teens’ sleep patterns and make an effort to make sure they are staying healthy.
They may not be compliant, and it may take a lot of effort to adjust their sleep habits, but the long term benefits far outweigh the difficulty in the beginning.
Why do teenagers need to sleep?
The simple answer is that everyone needs sleep! When it comes to teenagers, though, sleep is even more important. Teens are always on the go with sports teams, increasing academic difficulty, and their budding social lives.
Even when they are being lazy or playing video games, they are growing and developing. This means that they need sleep to perform well and to mature mentally and physically.
Mental and Physical Development
Teens need sleep to maintain their growing bodies, keep their immune system in check, stay mentally healthy, perform well in the classroom, boost their energy, stay focused, and handle their emotions. From athletics to academic to social reasons, teenagers need their sleep!
Preparing for their Future
High school teens will especially need to make sure they are getting enough sleep. At this age, they start applying to college, looking at their future, playing sports at a more intense level, having more rigorous academic courses, having complex social relationships, and driving.
Reducing the Risk of Injury
They do not need to get injured in their sport due to a lack of recovery, falling asleep in class and missing valuable information, or even worse falling asleep at the wheel!
The earlier you start infusing healthy sleeping habits and schedules into your teenager’s life, the better off they will be in the long run!
How much sleep do teenagers need?
In general, most teenagers require about 9 hours of continuous sleep each night to perform at an optimal level. Some may only get 7 hours, while others may want to sleep like a log until the sun comes up.
Every Teen is Different
Every person is different and has different needs. Monitor your child’s sleep patterns to see how much they are sleeping and how their sleep affects their mood, appearance, and performance. Then make adjustments to their sleep schedules as needed.
More athletic teens may need their sleep schedules monitored a bit closer by a parent. They may be up later at night if they have conditioning in the afternoons, or they may be difficult to wake in the morning from exhaustion.
Please make sure they are in bed and away from any distractions at a decent hour to ensure they get at least 8-9 hours of continuous sleep.
This will help reduce the risk of getting any sports injuries that could cause long term health problems down the road.
Healthy Sleep Patterns and Teens
Good sleep is not just something that happens overnight. It would be best if you helped them form several healthy habits that contribute to getting some quality sleep. Teens will develop lousy sleep habits naturally as they mature due to puberty.
Their bodies will begin secreting melatonin later at night than their earlier years, which is why they tend to stay up later and sleep through their alarms. In their younger years, they had to take naps and could not stay awake for long periods.
Now, their brains have caught up, and they can stay alert all day. Their circadian rhythm will take some time to adjust, and there are several things they can do to get better sleep during this transition.
Consistent Sleep Schedule
First, a good, consistent sleep schedule can drastically improve their sleep quality and alertness during the day. Establish a time to turn the lights off and a wake-up time that fits your teen’s schedule. This will help program their bodies to sleep at night and work during the day.
On the weekends, be sure to keep the scheduled sleep times within a couple of hours of the weekday times. This will help prevent their routine from getting entirely thrown off before the next week.
Avoiding the “Snooze Button” and Technology
Also, make sure your teen gets out of bed when their alarm goes off and that they do not get “5 more minutes” or play on their phone for a while. This will eliminate grogginess over time and lead to a better day overall.
At night, make sure that they limit their use of technology before bed. They should not stare at a bright screen within an hour of bedtime, as this will lead to sleep issues. Instead, they could try a relaxing activity like reading a book, meditating, or listening to soft music.
Next, you should take the time to look into your child’s sleeping environment. Their room should be quiet, cool, and dark at night for your teen to get good sleep.
Again, this means no electronics, loud music, or bright screens around bedtime. The bedroom should only be for sleeping.
Meal Time and Caffeine
They also need to have a satisfying meal before bedtime. Being too full or too hungry can cause trouble sleeping. I
n addition to this, it’s important to avoid caffeine later in the day. Getting enough exercise during the day will also help them sleep soundly throughout the night.
Rested Teens are a Recipe for Success
Making sure your teenagers get enough sleep is a daunting task at first, but they will grow up to be healthy young adults as a result. If you follow these tips and your teen is still having trouble sleeping, stress or anxiety may be the issue.
It is important to see a doctor if you believe your child has a sleep disorder. Especially to get the problem diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Remember, healthy sleep is necessary for a healthy life.
Your teenagers need sleep to be happy, healthy, and successful in their fast-paced lives.