Why Are Teens Sleep Deprived? The 4 Causes of Sleep Deprivation in Teenagers

There are many physical, mental, and social changes involved during the teen years, which can all get very exhausting. If there’s one thing that teenagers can count on, it’s a good nights’ sleep. However, an overwhelming majority of teens appear to be sleep-deprived.

A poll conducted by Stanford Medicine in 2015 found that more than 87% of high school students in the US were not getting enough sleep.

There can be several causes of sleep deprivation in teenagers. If your teenager is struggling with sleep, one of the following could be the culprit:

1.     Biology

Teenage years involve lots of hormonal changes, and one of these hormones is melatonin. Melatonin is the sleep hormone, and its production is erratic in teens. Hence, the reason why your teenager is sleeping through dinner, wide awake at 2:00 am and can sleep all afternoon if you let them.

In this scenario, your teenage kid can’t change their physiology. You can help them create a nice and relaxing environment to encourage better sleep at night and make sure they have a comfortable mattress to sleep on. You could also try introducing them to chamomile tea or try a diffuser in their room with a few drops of lavender when they’re getting ready to sleep.

2.     Screen

A poll conducted in 2014 revealed that 89% of American teenagers have at least one electronic device in their bedroom. Six years down the road, we see teenagers even more attached to their electronic devices than they ever were.

Screen time before bed and all evening keep the teenagers’ minds active and wired, constant notifications lead to fragmented sleep, and the exposure to light from the screen suppresses the production of melatonin.

If that’s the case with your teenager, perhaps it is time to set some restrictions on screen time, so they can get a proper night’s rest.

3.     Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders aren’t rare in teenagers. Restless legs syndrome (RLS), periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), sleep apnea, and narcolepsy cause major disruption in the sleep cycle. Some teenagers may suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, which has a debilitating effect on their mental and physical health.

The good news is, PLMD, RLS, and sleep apnea are treatable conditions. It’s always best to seek a medical professional, should any of the above be a potential cause for your teen’s sleep deprivation.

4.     Mental Health Issues

Mental health conditions can cause sleep deprivation and vice versa. Pay close attention to your teenager, look for signs of anxiety and depression and encourage them to seek help if you notice any. As always, it is best to seek advice from a medical professional on mental health issues.

The Sum Up

A healthy sleep cycle for a teenager involves getting 8 to 10 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, today, there are very few teenagers out there who get an adequate amount of slumber.

As a parent, we urge you to observe your teenagers’ sleep cycle. If you see them struggling, help them work through it, whether taking them to a doctor or improving their sleep environment with a slep routine or a comfortable mattress from Wolf Corporation.

Image Credits

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

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