Sleepy Teenager – Why do teenagers need so much sleep?

Sleepy Teenager – Why do teenagers need so much sleep?

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

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Why do teenagers need so much sleep?how much teenager sleep

Most parents of teenagers experience the way that teenagers go to bed late and get up late. The thing that most parents don’t actually realise is that there is quite often a physical reason why their teenager has changed their sleep patterns.

The Internal Clock of a Teenager

With the onset of puberty and the massive changes in hormones that puberty brings, there is also an associated change in teenagers’ internal clocks. All of us have an internal clock and it regulates when we feel sleepy, when we feel awake, when we feel hungry and how hot or cold we feel. Our internal clocks also affect the hormone levels within our body. The circadian rhythm is the name given to the psychological and biological processes that follow the cycles of the internal 24-hour clock. When puberty arrives in a teenager, they have a massive influx of hormones that affect this circadian rhythm causing their natural sleep patterns to change from needing to fall asleep between 8 and 9pm to 11pm.

Other Reason Why Teenagers Need More Sleep

Another reason why teenagers need more sleep is that whilst they are sleeping, they produce a hormone that encourages growth. As most teenagers going through puberty also go through the associated growth, they need more sleep to make sure they are producing enough of this hormone to maintain their growth spurt. Growing teenagers may also be uncomfortable in their beds if they only have a single mattress.

When teenagers cannot get to sleep, they often decide to engage in activities such as social networking on their phones, playing video games and watching television. This in turn will stimulate their brains making them less inclined to feel sleepy, leading to them falling asleep even later. Once teenagers have got into a routine of falling asleep late, they will not want to wake up early in the morning, making them out of step with their parents’ and younger siblings’ internal clocks.

Many teenagers also have part time jobs in the evening and lots of studying for college and other pressures. When they should be ready to go to sleep, they cannot relax and find it difficult to sleep, due to these factors. This then leads to them needing to lie in come the morning, in order to get the right amount of sleep. Some schools in the UK start their lessons for teenagers later in the morning for this very reason.

Are Teenagers Getting Too Little Sleep?

When teenagers do not want to get up in the morning to go to school, it can often be because they have not had enough sleep. On average, a teenager needs between eight and nine hours sleep a night and they often don’t get this amount. In turn, the lack of sleep leads to several other teenage problems, such as depression, impulsiveness and moodiness. Often, the fact that teenagers cannot sleep at night is because of the hormonal changes in their bodies and not because of their need to assert themselves over parents and loved ones.

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