Sleep is one of the essential requirements for proper body functioning. Your body needs good quality sleep as it helps you in doing your daily work. Without proper sleep, you are unable to do your daily activities. And cause many health conditions which are linked to poor sleep. Most people are not getting enough sleep, especially teens as they are under peer pressure from their studies, or using gadgets like cell phones and video games, etc. Therefore, as a parent, you need to take care of your child to get enough sleep. Because lack of sleep causes mental as well as physical problems. Let’s see whether teens get enough sleep and how you can help them as a parent.
As one of the stereotypes is that teens spend most of their time in their beds. Some studies show that sleep deprivation is mostly found in teenagers. Some research found that almost 73% of high school students do not get a healthy amount of sleep regularly. The recommended amount of sleep that teens need to get is 8 to 10 hours per night. If you do not get enough sleep it may lead to sleep deprivation which can affect you with many conditions like mood, drowsiness, symptoms of depression, etc. Also, lack of sleep is linked to mental health issues and others like weight gain, and academic problems. Some studies also show that most teenagers also suffer from sleep disorders and these can reduce the amount of sleep you need to get. The most common sleep disorders include narcolepsy, insomnia, and sleep apnea.
What is sleep deprivation?
When you do not get enough sleep according to your age it is known as sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can occur in the short-term as well as the long-term which lasts weeks or even months. Also, when it happens over a long period, it may cause several health conditions which are not healthy for your good health. Though this condition can be treatable, if you are not treating it properly you can come across certain conditions that interrupt your daily work as well as your health.
The common symptoms include:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Face trouble in thinking, concentrating, and remembering.
- Slowed reaction times
The severe symptoms include:
- Uncontrollable eye movements
- Trouble in clear speaking
- Drooping eyelids
- Hand tremors
- Impaired judgment
- Impulsive behavior
How much sleep does your body need?
You feel refreshed when you get a good night’s sleep. That is why you need to make sure about having proper sleep. But the main thing you need to consider is the amount of sleep you should get depending on your age. Following is the distribution of proper sleep according to your age.
- Infants (4-12 months): 12-16 hours
- Young children (1- 5 years): 10-14 hours
- School-aged children (6-12 years): 9-12 hours
- Teenagers (13-18 years): 8-10 hours
- Adults (18 years and above): 7-9 hours.
How does not getting enough sleep (sleep deprivation) affect your body?
When you do not get enough sleep depending on your age it may give you negative effects. And these effects turn out to affect your organs, systems, and processes which include-
- Immune system – poor sleep can cause you to tend towards certain infections which may take longer time to resolve and leads to respiratory diseases.
- Weight– lack of sleep can affect the hormones which control feelings of hunger and fullness. The change in sleep causes increased fat storage which may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Cardiovascular system – sleep helps in maintaining your blood pressure, sugar levels, and inflammation control. All these conditions are related to cardiovascular disease. Too little sleep may increase the risk of these diseases.
- Nervous system – when you are not sleeping enough it may increase the level of pain sensitivity, meaning that you feel more pain.
- Hormone levels – lack of sleep can affect the production of growth hormones and testosterone. Also, poor sleep causes your body to release stress hormones such as cortisol.
- Brain – lack of sleep may affect your brain and you feel harder to form new memories which can affect your learning. Also, sleep deprivation could increase the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Fertility- lack of sleep affects the production of hormones which may increase your fertility.
- Mental health– lack of sleep also affects your mental health by facing difficulty in managing and processing your emotions. This may increase the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Why don’t teens get enough sleep?
There are many reasons for not getting enough sleep for a teenager. It can be a biological reason for that as well. When you are going through puberty, your physical, mental, and behavioral changes also shift which is known as circadian rhythms. At this stage, your brain does not start making melatonin, which is a hormone responsible for falling asleep, until later in the evening. Also, when you compare teens with young children, they have a slow sleep drive which shows that teens can stay awake for a longer period even though they are sleep deprived. Another reason for not getting enough sleep is the use of electronic gadgets like cell phones, tablets, computers, laptops, etc. Because when you use these devices at night, the light coming from the screens can disrupt your production of melatonin which reduces the level of sleep. Moreover, when you text and play video games you are too much into them your alertness increases which also leads to not sleeping.
How can parents help you to get enough sleep?
As a teen, you can become an independent adult, but as a parent, you need to monitor your child for getting a good-proper sleep. For doing so, you can take certain steps which can contribute to making sleep a priority.
These few steps include:
- Collect the electronic devices at night – try to keep a place or a kind of basket where all the mobile phones and tablets can be collected after 2 hours of having dinner. Though children force you to give back their phones to communicate with their parents. But you need to stick to this routine by also putting aside your phone as well because by seeing this they complain less.
- Don’t let sleep slide – most teens are involved in many activities like sports, work, and school assignments. Due to this, you are unable to do everything at the same time. This makes them stay active the night to complete their work which is not good and harms their health. Instead of doing this, you can teach your kids time management skills so that they can get everything done during the day.
- Keep a consistent wake time – in many schools, the time of the shift starts later, due to which you do not care about your children’s bedtime. But make sure to stick to a routine where your child gets enough sleep whether they have to be at 5:30 to catch the 6:00 bus, or they need to be in bed right after 9:30 to 10:00. This means that you make sure their homework, and dinner get done.
- Cut their caffeine – soda is very common in teens’ diets. Today, they even drink coffee and energy drinks as compared to before. As a parent, you don’t even realize how much caffeine is present in drinks like green tea, and energy drinks. These are used to get energy. However, you don’t need to take these drinks when you get a good sleep. Therefore, make sure to cut their caffeinated drinks.
Some other tips you can try to improve your children’s sleep:
- Stick to time and the same bed each day.
- Make sure that your child does physical activities during the day.
- Keep your children’s bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.
- Make sure that the bed is used only for sleeping, not for playing and other activities.
In conclusion, we can say that sleep is one of the essentials of having a healthy body whether it is for children or adults. As sleep helps in doing several things including your body functions properly. Therefore, you need to get enough sleep for better health. When you do not get enough sleep it may lead to sleep deprivation which is mostly found in teens today. As they are involved in doing their work using various electronic gadgets. Therefore, as a parent, you need to take certain steps to improve your child’s good quality of sleep. This makes your child sleep which decreases the negative effects that you can get from not having the right amount of sleep.
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