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Teens and Sleep Loss - It Isn't Just Laziness

It is common knowledge that humans need different amounts of sleep at various points in their lives to obtain optimal performance. The teen years are those that need more than others. Teens not only need more sleep than at other ages, but it needs to be quality, healthy sleep. No matter how important a good night's sleep is to the teen body, they rarely get it. Most teens are sleep deprived from staying up playing games or studying, or from something more serious.

Related Blog: How Much Sleep Do Teenagers Need?

How Much Sleep Do Teens Really Need?

Most healthcare professionals agree that the average teenager needs between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Usually, this isn't a problem. If you ask the parent of any teen, they will tell you their teen would sleep the day away given the chance. However, things like exams, relationships, and jobs can keep a teen's mind so full of stress it just doesn't shut down long enough to sleep. They toss and turn. If they do fall asleep, it's only for short bursts at a time. The average person goes through four to five sleep cycles a night. The first few stages of a sleep cycle are light and can easily be disrupted so it isn't unusual for a teenager to wake up once or twice a night. When it happens more often, there is a problem.


Consequences of Sleep Loss

Feeling sleepy and experiencing a loss of energy are not the only effects of losing sleep. In fact, going without sleep for extended periods of time can not only seriously affect your health but also kill you. Only a few issues related to sleep deprivations are as follows:

• Weakened immune system

• Weight gain

• Increased risk of cancer and diabetes

• Greater risk of car accident or other bodily injury

• Impacts heart health

• Trouble concentrating

There are a few different reasons your teenager could be having trouble sleeping at night. Things such as:

• Sleep Apnea

• Certain medications

• Restless leg syndrome

• Reflux

• Night terrors

• Sleepwalking

• Narcolepsy

Solutions to Teen Sleep Deprivation

Not getting enough sleep may not seem like a big deal, but it can cause some major problems. Organs shut down, people hallucinate, and they experience physical pain. If your teen is going more than a few days to a week without any real sleep, there are a few things you can try to make sleep a little easier to find.

Overhaul the Sleeping Environment – there is no end to what a clean, fresh-smelling bedroom can do for a bad sleeping problem. Remove all garbage and clutter from the room. Open the window for a few hours to air it out. Wash the curtains, bed clothes and any rugs. Light a few scented candles and the room is already 10 times more relaxing than it was. Cut down screen time before jumping in bed and sleep will come before you know it.

See a Doctor – if you've tried all the traditional homeopathic remedies and nothing seems to work, do not delay in seeing a doctor. This is especially true if you know you snore, or have some other trouble breathing. If you suspect you have been walking or eating in your sleep, it is important to see a doctor right away. They could be signs of a much more serious problem.

Teen sleep issues can be scary, but there is no need to worry. These problems can usually be taken care of with a few small life changes and the passage of time. Teen years are difficult. It's it important we do all we can to help them get the sleep they need to be happy.

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