Sleep Well

Most teens need about 8½ to more than 9 hours of sleep each night. The right amount of sleep is essential for anyone who wants to do well on a test or play sports without tripping over their feet. Unfortunately, though, many teens don’t get enough sleep.

Until recently, teens were often given a bad rap for staying up late, oversleeping for school, and falling asleep in class. But recent studies show that adolescent sleep patterns actually differ from those of adults or kids.

These studies show that during the teen years, the body’s circadian rhythm (sort of like an internal biological clock) is temporarily reset, telling a person to fall asleep later and wake up later. This change in the circadian rhythm seems to be due to the fact that the brain hormone melatonin is produced later at night for teens than it is for kids and adults. This can make it harder for teens to fall asleep early.

These changes in the body’s circadian rhythm coincide with a time when we’re busier than ever. For most teens, the pressure to do well in school is more intense than when they were kids, and it’s harder to get by without studying hard. And teens also have other time demands — everything from sports and other extracurricular activities to fitting in a part-time job to save money for college.

Early start times in some schools may also play a role in this sleep deficit. Teens who fall asleep after midnight may still have to get up early for school, meaning that they may only squeeze in 6 or 7 hours of sleep a night. A couple hours of missed sleep a night may not seem like a big deal, but can create a noticeable sleep deficit over time.

How do I know if I’m getting enough?  

You are not if you experience any of the following:

  • difficulty waking up in the morning
  • inability to concentrate
  • falling asleep during classes
  • feelings of moodiness and even depression

It is essential that students are prepared for a day of learning. Their minds need to be fully focussed and awake.  Here are some things that may help you to sleep better:

  • Set a regular bedtime.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Avoid stimulants. (Coffee, fizzy drinks, energy drinks)
  • Relax your mind. Unwind by keeping the lights low.
  • Don’t nap too much.
  • Avoid all-nighters.
  • Create the right sleeping environment.
  • Wake up with bright light.

NHS – Junk Sleep