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Is Your Teenager Getting Enough Sleep?

Is Your Teenager Getting Enough Sleep?

Navigating life as a teenager, or dealing with a teenager, is challenging enough. Add in some sleep deprivation, and you’ve got a real problem on your hands.

If you’re wondering, “what is the recommended sleep time for a teenager?” Find the answers to your questions here.

Why is sleep important for teens?

According to a recent study by the Sleep Foundation, teenagers need on average 9 hours of sleep per night. But why? It has a lot to do with the circadian rhythm (if you’re not sure what it is, you can learn about it in our post: What is the Circadian Rhythm?) and something we all remember with a shudder, puberty.

Known technically as a “sleep phase delay”, as teenagers begin puberty, their bodies’ inner clock shifts. Instead of telling them it’s bedtime at around 8 or 9 pm; suddenly, they’re not fatigued until 10 or even 11 pm in some cases.

This switch in sleeping schedules often causes havoc with their attempts to get the necessary 9 hours a night, with many even suffering from a degree of insomnia as they make the change. The sleep phase delay is partly why teenagers need the extra hours. Their body and mind need time to sync up.

We all feel the exhaustion when the clocks go forward or back; well, imagine that but 20x worse. Then, of course, add into the mix all the hormone changes, growth spurts, and generally exhausting trials of teenage life, and suddenly it all makes sense.

cat sleeping

How can you help your teenager sleep?

I’ve often wondered why my teenager is so tired. Teenagers are moody and argumentative at the best of times, try and tell them when to go to bed, and you could have a serious battle on your hands.

In that respect, how can you help your teenager sleep? Here are a few tips.

Set a routine into motion

No, I don’t mean bedtime stories and cups of warm milk. There’s no way they’d buy into that (I’ve tried). Instead, try peeling them away from phones and computer games an hour or so before they plan on turning in.

If done consistently, the brain will be less stimulated and recognise when it’s time to relax before sleep.

Take note of their naps

Naps can be a double-edged sword of somewhat. They’re handy for catching up on necessary rest, but they can quickly descend into a vicious cycle.

Keep an eye on how often they nap before bedtime; as a general rule of thumb, it should never be longer than an hour. And since their bodies are desperately trying to sync up, if they can avoid a nap, it should.

Keep them in the loop

Were you aware of these changes when you were younger? Probably not.

Keeping them in the loop about how their bodies are changing will hopefully make them more aware of why they need to be consistent with their bedtime, and who knows, it may lead to a few fewer arguments too.

Maybe it’s time for a new mattress?

If none of this resonates with you or your tired teenager, maybe it’s the mattress itself that’s causing the problem? How long ago was it changed? Is it supporting your teen’s body as it develops and grows?

It's important to make sure that you are paying attention to whether or not your teenager is comfortable whilst they are sleeping, as a bad mattress can cause plenty of sleeping related issues or even have a knock-on effect during the day! If you're unsure what kind of mattress will work best for your teenager, take a look at our mattress buying guide for helpful tips and advice.

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