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Sleep Deprivation In Teens – A Common Problem

Sleep deprivation will cause your teenager to be irritable, cranky and moody all the time. Did you know that around 90 percent of teenagers are sleep deprived? Moreover, parents are usually not aware of how serious this condition can be. Learn what hurts your child shut-eye and how you can help your child to have a better sleep cycle, health and well-being overall. Read on and discover.

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Sleep deprivation in teens is very often seen nowadays. Today’s teenagers lead a very fast and dynamic lifestyle. Add to that lifestyle a giant everyday use of technology and you will notice a number of factors that affects a teen’s sleeping cycle.

Between homework, school, social life, training, many extra-curricular activities, keeping up with Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and part-time jobs it’s no wonder that teens are more tired than ever before. As a result of all those factors combined, sleep deprivation is a logical and often seen outcome.

Sleep In Teens

Sleep is the number one food for a healthy and active brain. A number of different and crucial body functions are happening during a steady sleep. During a steady and peaceful sleep, a number of brain activity are happening. Therefore, skipping sleep can be dangerous, harmful and sometimes even deadly – especially if you are behind the wheel. The brain will always get its sleep, regardless of how strong you fight it.

For example, falling asleep at the wheel is often seen as the headline in newspapers. Moreover, it is the number one reason for more than 100,000 car crashes every year. Also, an accident, injury or illness is more present when you are lacking sleep. Moreover, moody feeling leads to poorly performances. Therefore, one can have troubles to get along with its family and friends. In teens world, sleep deprivation means that exams will suffer first.

What Can Lack Of Sleep Do To A Teenager?

Sleep is an important part of everyone well-being, including teenagers. Simply said, sleeping is important just like breathing, eating or even drinking water. Proper sleep habits can boost overall health, including the stress that teenagers often suffer from.

Fast fact: Teens need between 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to function properly.

However, most teens simply do not get enough sleep, especially during school days. Teenagers have a tendency of staying late every night. In addition to that late habit, they have a tendency of waking up late, especially on weekends.

Altogether, these irregular sleep patterns affect their biological clock and hurt their quality of sleep. Moreover, it results in strong sleep deprivation. Therefore, many teenagers actually suffer from a number of sleep disorders, including sleep talking, nocturia, and restless legs syndrome. In addition, poor sleep habits can lead to dementia in the long run, or even sleep apnea.

Consequences Of Sleep Deprivation In Teens

Every teenager is unique. Therefore, every single teenager in this world can be affected by a number of different effects and can react differently to them. But, some general symptoms are usually present and they stand for clear sleep deprivation. In reality, the most often consequences of sleep deprivation in teens, in a nutshell, are:

  • Limited learning ability
  • Low concentration level
  • Poor solving problems skills
  • Skin problems, such as acne
  • Strong indicators toward inappropriate or aggressive behavior
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Increased use of nicotine, caffeine or alcohol
  • Driving drowsy

Causes Of Sleep Deprivation In Teens

Reasons that can lead to sleep deprivation in teens are, again, highly individual and can vary from a number of different external factors. Some internal factors that are connected with general well-being can also lead to poor sleep habits, sleep cycle and also bad dreams. But, some of the most common reasons for sleep deprivation are:

1. Hormonal Time Shift

Puberty hormones are responsible for a number of different health conditions. Also, they can easily shift the teenager’s body clock forward for at least one hour, making them sleepier one to even two hours later. Regardless of their sleeping hour, early school hours don’t allow them to sleep in. Therefore, you may look at it as a ‘sleep debt’ that eventually leads to chronic sleep deprivation.

2. Over-using screen based devices

Technology can easily mess someone sleep cycle, especially teens, as they are the ones that are using screen based devices constantly without thinking of how it can affect their sleep quality. Teenagers are not well-aware of how much sleep they can actually save if they put down their smart-phones and other portable devices just one hour before their sleep.

Actually, by doing so they could gain an extra 21 minutes of sleep a night. It means that they would get an additional one hour and 45 minutes of sleep over the school week.

3. Busy After-School Schedule

Having a school 5 times per week and equally, homework is more than enough for each teenager. But, that’s usually not the case as teenagers are known for having a rather dynamic social life. In addition, they also have sport, part-time jobs and other commitments and activities, including television, internet, and gaming. All those things together are responsible for keeping them away from the bed.

4. Light

This may not sound too serious or demanding but it is a real trouble maker. Light exposure cues the brain to stay awake. In the evening hours, any form of light that comes from tv set, mobile phones, computers or any portable device can prevent suitable products of melatonin – the brain chemical (neurotransmitter) responsible for sleep.

5. Sleep Disorder

Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, or nocturia can affect how much sleep exactly a teenager gets.

Preventing Sleep Deprivation In Teens

There is a way to make anything easier, including sleep deprivation. However, the best thing that you could do in a world for almost anything is to prevent it from happening. Better safe than sorry.

Therefore, there are some certain actions that you can take upon in order to keep your children quality sleep and prevent sleep deprivation. Some of the suggestions are:

  • Sleep in on the weekends
  • Support an early night every Sunday
  • Make a mutual decision on a time spent on portable devices
  • Avoid early morning appointment if posible
  • Help your child to better schedule their after-achool obligations
  • Make sure that your child has enough sleep and rest
  • Afternoon naps after school are O.K, if there is time for it

Bear in mind that every child has different needs and obligations. Therefore, make sure that you create a proper schedule of obligations and sleep so your child gets to do everything easily on a daily level, including school and off-school tasks. If you feel that you need additional help, you can ask your doctor to help you with organizing.

Conclusion On Sleep Deprivation In Teens

Based on their functional body needs and active lifestyle teenagers should be getting between 9 up to 10 hours of sleep per night. However, thanks to their school and after-school life and obligations, teens have a tendency of sleeping around 7 hours per night or even less.

Lack of sleep usually leads to an inability to focus during class, poor grades and many possible smaller and bigger health dysfunctions and health issues. Sleep deprivation in teens opens more flu and viruses during the school year due to fatigue and trying to balance too many different commitments.

Therefore, it’s crucial to educate your child about good living and sleeping habits that will help him during numerous life stages. Make sure that your child is well aware of the exact number of sleep that he needs every night and how to be organized. Teenagers are known for having too many commitments, especially in their final years of high school education. So, having a strong sleeping habit is a must.

Frequently Asked Question On Sleep Deprivation In Teens

1. What Can Lack Of Sleep Do To A Teenager?

An average teenager gets around 6 to 7 hours of sleep per night, while the standard is between 9 and 10 hours per night. Sleep deprivation in teens can lead to different non-desirable health conditions, moods or effects on a teenager’s life on a daily level, including low self-esteem, anxiety and even risk of depression.

2. How Much Sleep Does A 15-Year-Old Need?

The minimum is between 8 to 10 hours, while the perfect amount of sleeping hours for a teenager is between 9 and 10 hours. However, most teens do not get enough sleep. They usually get around 8 hours or less on school nights.

3. What Percent Of High School Students Is Sleep Deprived?

According to the precise survey that was conducted in 2006 from the National Sleep Foundation, around 87 percent of American high schools students are chronically sleep-deprived.

4. What Are 5 Emotional Effects Of Sleep Deprivation?

The most common effects are seen in the psychological area. Therefore, a mood disorder may be recorded, including anxiety and depression.

5. What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

An occasional night without sleep can lead to mood change and feeling tired the following day. Furthermore, a constant lack of sleep can lead to aggression and strong mood behaviors.

Also, it can lead to a number of serious medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

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