Teen Sleeping Patterns

Does your teenager suffer from sleep deprivation?

Many teens tend to stay up late on social media, watching television or just tossing and turning for hours unable to fall asleep. Sleep can also be disrupted during stressful times like exams or relationship problems.

How much sleep do teens need?

A typical high school student is biologically wired to fall asleep around 11 p.m., and, they need nine or 10 hours of sleep each night. Many high schools in Michigan start school as early as 7 a.m. --long before a teen's natural wake time.

A recent survey on teen sleep patterns revealed that only 15 percent of adolescents sleep 8.5 or more hours on school nights while 26 percent sleep only 6.5 hours. This sleep loss not only affects their grades and academic performance but has the potential to leave teens feeling irritable and suffer from depression.

Even worse, sleep deprivation when driving can be dangerous. Every year, 100,000 car accidents are a result of drowsy driving; drivers under age 25 are involved in more than half of these crashes.

Teen tips for a good night sleep

Teenagers' sleep-wake cycles are biologically determined -- they are programmed to stay up late at night and sleep later in the morning. They are instinctively night owls. Falling asleep is often a challenge, but there are things teens can do that may help them get a good night sleep.

  • Maintain a consistent bedtime and wake time (on weekends and vacation, go to sleep no more than an hour later and wake up no more than two or three hours later than during the week) .
  • Make sleep a priority.
  • Take only a quick nap (no more than 20 minutes) early in the day (if necessary) .
  • Keep the bedroom quiet and dark.
  • Cover lights from clocks, computer monitors, cell phones and other electronic equipment.
  • Don't use the phone, computer or watch TV an hour before bedtime.
  • Avoid coffee, tea, soda and chocolate, especially within a few hours of bedtime.
  • Don't eat, drink, or exercise within a few hours of bedtime.
  • Engage in quiet activities before bed, and establish a relaxing bedtime ritual.