Sleep Deprivation Amongst Teenagers
Often adults become prone to sleep deprivation due to their busy schedules. But it seems like teens are not getting their full quota of sleep either. Among teenagers, sleep deprivation has become a common problem. They are being plagued with unique sleep challenges.
Teenage years bring about various changes in an individual, not only physically, but socially and mentally as well. The brain undergoes significant changes, paving way for the transition to adulthood.
But, the growing concern of lack of sleep among teens predicts numerous negative outcomes. They are not able to concentrate effectively. It is affecting their grades and is leading to increased cases of anxiety and depression.
What do the research studies say?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have revealed that almost 70% of students are facing sleep deprivation.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and National Sleep Foundation agree on the fact that teenagers must fulfill the sleep quota that extends between 8 to 10 hours, per night.
It is essential for their developing brain. Adequate sleep enables them to keep their physical and emotional health in check.
But, the challenges are numerous, and teens are unable to get such consistent sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics published a detailed report in 2014.
A National Sleep Foundation poll conducted in 2016 concluded that 87% of high school students in the US are getting far less than the prescribed sleep hours count. They phrased the growing sleep deprivation issues among teens as a ‘public health epidemic.’
Studies reveal that two-thirds of the teens are sleeping less than 7 hours, each night. Most adolescents are only able to get 6.5 to 7.5 hours of sleep.
What are the causes of teenage sleep deprivation?
There is a wide range of reasons that are contributing to this. These include:
- Hormonal time shifts triggered by puberty may lead to changes in teenagers’ sleep schedules.
- The growing use of digital screens is impacting sleep schedules. Excessive time (3 hours or more) spent on the computer compromises their schedule.
- Consumption of one or more soda drinks each day.
- Not engaging in adequate physical activities.
- Hectic after-school schedule leads them to cut down sleep hours.
- Facing mental issues like anxiety and depression.
- Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome.
- Not following a particular schedule and changing it consistently.
What are the effects of teenage sleep deprivation?
Teenagers who are suffering from lack of sleep are facing issues in managing their day-to-day activities. It is also affecting their performance, and straining their social relationships. Various side effects include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Falling asleep during class hours
- Dwindling academic performance
- Anxiety and depression issues
- Risk-taking behavior
- Slow reflexes and clumsiness
- Weak immunity system
- Memory impairment
- Reduced sporting performance
What can help teens to sleep better?
Certain healthy tips can enable teens to improve their sleep schedules.
- Teens should try to create a budget of eight hours of sleep each day. They must follow it on weekdays and weekends as well.
- They should avoid consuming too much caffeine and energy drinks.
- If teens find it difficult to sleep, they can establish a pre-bed routine. It’ll help them relax better.
- Teens should avoid mobile and digital screens at least half an hour before their bedtime.
- The bedroom should be dark, with the right temperature.
- The mattress and pillow should be comfortable.
How can parents help teens to improve sleep schedule?
Studies indicate that parents are not aware that their children face sleeping problems. Parents can intervene to check if they are overworking themselves which is eating into their sleep hours.
They can also check with doctors to help improve their child’s sleep hygiene.