Most teens need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. Getting the right amount
of sleep is important for anyone who wants to do well on a test or play their best
in sports. Unfortunately, many teens don't get enough
Why Don't Teens Get Enough Sleep?
Teens often got a bad rap for staying up late, oversleeping for school, and falling
asleep in class. But teen sleep patterns are different from those of adults or younger
During the teen years, the body's
rhythm (an internal biological clock) is reset, telling a person to fall
asleep later and wake up later. This change is likely due to the brain hormone
, which is released later at night for teens than it is for kids and adults.
This can make it harder for teens to fall asleep early.
Changes in the body's circadian rhythm coincide with a busy time in life. For most
teens, the pressure to do well in school is more intense and it's harder to get by
without studying hard. And teens have other time demands — everything from sports
and other extracurricular activities to working a part-time job. Using electronics
— including phones, tablets, and computers — also makes it hard to fall
sleep. Many teens are up late texting friends, playing games, and watching videos.
Early school start times also play a role in lost sleep. Teens who fall asleep
after midnight still have to get up early for school, meaning that they might squeeze
in only 6 or 7 hours, or less, of sleep a night. A few hours of missed sleep a night
may not seem like a big deal, but it can create a noticeable sleep deficit over time.
Why Is Sleep Important?
Sleep is important for you to be at your best. Teens need sleep to:
pay attention and learn in school
improve athletic performance
grow and develop normally
Lost sleep can lead to poor grades, relationship problems, and drowsy driving.
Falling asleep while driving can cause serious car accidents.
Set regular bed and wake up times. Try to stick to your sleep
schedule, within an hour or two, even on weekends.
Exercise regularly. Regular exercise
can help you sleep better. Try not to exercise right before bed, though. Exercise
can rev you up and make it harder to fall asleep.
Avoid caffeine. Don't drink beverages with caffeine,
such as soda, tea, and coffee, after dinner. Nicotine (smoking
and vaping) and alcohol
in the evening can make a person restless and interrupt sleep.
Unwind by keeping the lights low. Light signals the brain that
it's time to wake up. Staying away from bright lights (including device screens),
listening to soothing music, or meditating before bed can help your body relax.
Turn off electronics. Don't use your phone (including texting),
tablets, computer, or TV at least 1 hour before you go to bed.
Don't nap too much. Naps of more than 30 minutes during the day
and naps too close to bedtime may keep you from falling asleep later.
Create the right sleeping environment. People sleep best in a
dark room that is slightly on the cool side. Use a nature sounds or white-noise machine
(or app) if you need to block out a noisy environment.