Whether your teen is a student studying for exams or a young sports person with a strict training regime, sleep is an integral part of a teenager’s life. So, it’s only natural you may be wondering how much sleep do teens need, especially since research1 indicates many teens don’t get enough sleep.
As parents, we all want our teens to be happy and thrive as they grow into healthy young adults. A teenager’s day is often filled with activities — from homework to after-school sports, and even a part-time job. Young people also tend to stay up late surfing the Web or chatting online and partying at night — burning the candle at both ends. This results in teens not getting enough sleep, which can have severe consequences for their health. You can read up on how to form good sleeping habits.
Some of you may think of the teenage years as the ‘second terrible-twos’, and it’s little wonder given the ups and downs that come with having a teenager in the house. During the teenage years, your child will experience significant changes – physically, mentally, socially, to name a few.
Even with these rapid changes during the teenage years, sleep helps the teenage brain form new pathways and strengthen existing pathways. Sleep for teens also helps develop their bodies; overnight, cells repair themselves and grow stronger in preparation for the next day. For this reason, it is easy to see why is sleep important for teens.
Beyond the cellular benefits, adequate sleep for teenagers has many benefits:
– Improved critical thinking2
– Attention, memory and creativity is easier3
– Improved academic performance
– Less irritability
– Stabilised mood and emotional reactions
Preventing and lessening the severity of symptoms of a mental health disorder is another excellent benefit of teenage sleep. Poor sleep is frequently linked to anxiety, depression and bipolar disorders4.
Australia’s better Health Channel states that most teenagers only get between 6.5-7.5 hours of sleep per night which is not enough, according to Professor Dorothy Bruck, Victoria University Melbourne.
Professor Bruck explains how many hours of sleep should a teenager get5.
“At the time of puberty, teenagers typically need nine to nine and a quarter hours of sleep per night. Yet many teenagers sleep considerably less than this every night, and their daytime alertness is thus reduced.”
Professor Bruck goes on to explain what can affect how many hours should a teenager sleep.
“Teen’s body clocks naturally shift to make them feel tired later in the evening, but early school starts do not enable them to sleep in the mornings.”
The ‘night owl’ behaviour of teen sleep habits may be driving you crazy – but keep in mind, some of this behaviour is completely out of your teen’s control due to the raging hormonal changes of puberty interfering with the body’s own sleep hormone – melatonin6.
“Teens experience a natural shift in circadian rhythm,” says Johns Hopkins sleep expert Laura Sterni, M.D.
This makes it more difficult for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m. and is something to consider when asking how many hours of sleep does a teenager need.
One of the biggest frustrations parents of teens face is the never-ending issue of ‘how to get my teenager to sleep at night’. While you may take some comfort knowing your teen’s refusal to go to bed at a reasonable hour is partly due to their hormones, you can still help your teen get enough sleep by assisting them in establishing and taking ownership of some sleep hygiene boundaries.
The easiest way is to involve them with new ‘sleep rules’ is to sit down together and dream up ways to help increase their amount of sleep. Now that you know how many hours do teens need to sleep, below is a list of ideas that may help your brainstorming session:
– Consider allowing your child to sleep in on the weekends.
– Agree on a schedule for essential activities – homework and social screen time.
– Perhaps you could help your teen by encouraging after-school naps?
– You could experiment with the households lighting; for example, dimming the home’s lights at night can help trigger a melatonin response.
– Schedule a visit with your teen’s GP if you think your teen’s sleep is seriously compromised. A melatonin supplement may be considered as an option by your GP.
– There are some very useful sleep workbooks available in good bookstores, including The Awesome Power of Sleep by Nicola Morgan
– You might find some useful natural sleep remedies in SleepMaker’s Sleep Guide.
After up you have had your brainstorming session with your teen, together you will be able to create a teen bedtime routine that the whole family can respect. You may have to attach ‘sleep’ rewards to help motivate your teen; an example could be offering driving practice hours in exchange for two weeks of sticking to the agreed teen bedtime routine.
As we know, the teenage years can feel like the second ‘terrible twos’, but open dialogue between you and your teen can help change their relationship with sleep and help them to get enough sleep that a teenager needs to thrive into adulthood.
SleepMaker have developed a wide range of advanced technologies to create excellent mattresses in Australia that ensure your teens’ growing body, especially their spinal, is supported while they sleep.
Getting your kid to sleep is always an issue for most parents out there, here at SleepMaker, we will help you that with.
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1. Tarokh, L., Saletin, J. M., & Carskadon, M. A. (2016). Sleep in adolescence: Physiology, cognition and mental health. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 70, 182–188.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.08.008
2. Sio, U. N., Monaghan, P., & Ormerod, T. (2013). Sleep on it, but only if it is difficult: effects of sleep on problem solving. Memory & cognition, 41(2), 159–166.https://doi.org/10.3758/s13421-012-0256-7
3. King, E., Daunis, M., Tami, C., & Scullin, M. K. (2017). Sleep in Studio Based Courses: Outcomes for Creativity Task Performance. Journal of Interior Design, 42(4), 5–27.https://doi.org/10.1111/joid.12104
4. de Zambotti, M., Goldstone, A., Colrain, I. M., & Baker, F. C. (2018). Insomnia disorder in adolescence: Diagnosis, impact, and treatment. Sleep medicine reviews, 39, 12–24.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2017.06.009
5. Bruck, Dorothy. (2006). Teenage Sleep: Understanding and helping the sleep of 12-20 year olds. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/37376693_Teenage_sleep_Understanding_and_helping_the_sleep_of_12_-_20_year_olds/link/09e4151275737c7ef9000000/download
6. John Hopkins Medicine. Teenagers and Sleep: How Much Sleep Is Enough? https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/teenagers-and-sleep-how-much-sleep-is-enough