Because the teenage years is when we start developing and transitioning into adulthood, sleep is essential for our well being. Mantaining a healthy sleep hygiene is good for our physical and mental well-being, allowing us to be at our best. However, most teens are not getting the amount of sleep that they need, which can have significant effects on their health.
Facts on Sleep Hygiene
6 out of 10 middle schoolers and 7 out of 10 high schoolers do not get enough sleep.
Teens require 8-10 hours of sleep every night.
Sleep can improve memory, attention, and cognitive thinking.
There are around 80 types of sleep disorders.
Factors Contributing to Insuficcient Sleep in Teens
Biological impulse affecting the circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle)
Excessive use of electronic devices
School start times
Use of caffeine
Mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders
Autism spectrum disorder
Effects of Poor Sleep Hygiene
Type 2 Diabetes
Poor mental health
Attention or behavioral problems
How to improve sleep hygiene
Mantain an 8 hour sleep schedule.
Avoid caffeine and energy drinks in the evening.
Avoid use of electronic devices at least half an hour before bed.
Keep a cool, dark, and quiet bedroom.
Asking the Experts
Anas Hadeh, MD, FCCP
Sleep Medicine Specialist
Program Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship
Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Cleveland Clinic Florida
Q: Are sleep problems common in teenagers?
A: Sleep problems are indeed common in teenagers. Insufficient sleep is the number one cause of daytime sleepiness in teenagers. It is important to know that teens must get at least 8 -10 hours of sleep. Reduced sleep quantity and quality may interfere with the adolescent physical, emotional, and social development. Excessive sleepiness may also lead to over activity, inattentiveness and irritability. All of this will reflect on the teenager academic performance Another sleep problem that is common in teens is delayed sleep-wake phase disorder, or simply being a “Night owl.” In this condition your “biological clock” wants you to go to bed late and wakeup late, but your ”social clock” may want you to go to bed early to wake up early for school . This mismatch between the two clocks can cause insomnia or difficulty starting sleep at night and sleepiness in the morning.
Q: How can teenagers keep a proper sleep hygiene?
Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends which makes it much easier to fall asleep and wake easily.
Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
Avoid heavy exercise close to bedtime.
The last tip is the most important one : Avoid using electronic devices such as smartphones, handheld gaming devices while in bed and avoid “screen time” after 9 pm. The bright light in these devices may suppress the hormone of sleep “Melatonin” and makes sleep onset even later.