Sleeping for Teens

Sleep is food for the brain and during sleep, important body functions and brain activity occur. Skipping sleep can be harmful and can even be deadly, particularly if you are behind the wheel.

When you are a teen, sleepiness can make it hard to get along with your family and friends and hurt your scores on school exams, on the court or on the field. Try to remember a brain that is hungry for sleep will get it, even when you don’t expect it. For example, drowsiness and falling asleep at the wheel cause more than 100,000 car crashes every year. When you do not get enough sleep, you are more likely to have an accident, injury and/or illness.

Sleep for everyone is vital to your well-being and as important as the air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat. It can even help you to eat better and manage the stress of being a teen. Biological sleep patterns shift toward later times for both sleeping and waking during adolescence which means it is natural to not be able to fall asleep before 11:00 pm. Teens need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to function best but most teens do not get enough sleep. One study found that only 15% reported sleeping 8 1/2 hours on school nights.

Teens usually have irregular sleep patterns across the week and they typically stay up late and sleep in late on the weekends, which can affect their biological clocks and hurt the quality of their sleep. Many teens suffer from treatable sleep disorders, such narcolepsy, insomnia, restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea.

Not getting enough sleep or having sleep difficulties can limit your ability to learn, listen, concentrate and solve problems. You may even forget important information like names, numbers, your homework or a date with a special person in your life. A lack of sleep may also make you more prone to pimples.

Sometimes too many nights of missed sleep can also lead to aggressive or inappropriate behavior such as yelling at your friends or being impatient with your teachers or family members. It can also cause you to eat too much or eat unhealthy foods like sweets and fried foods that lead to weight gain, heighten the effects of alcohol and possibly increase use of caffeine and nicotine.

If your teen is not getting enough sleep it can contribute to illness, not using equipment safely or driving drowsy. Take the steps necessary to helping your teen become educated on good sleeping habits and become a role model for your children by setting up your own!

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