Do you get enough sleep to feel great and pay attention in school? If you’re like most teens, chances are you don’t. In sleep studies, researchers found that more than 15 million kids and teens get poor sleep. The teens who got poor sleep were more likely to have family fights and bad headaches.
The problem with poor sleep is how you feel when you are awake -- usually cranky, sad, and moody. There’s more: Teens who get poor sleep have problems getting along at home and at school. They have poor grades. And sleep-deprived teens tend to be apathetic. They are also more at risk for car wrecks, making the problem of teens and sleep even more serious.
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Your mom or dad may yell, “Get in bed and go to sleep!” But that’s easier said than done. If you are like most teens, you like to stay up late. But why? You can blame it in part on TV, homework, instant messaging, and fun drinks filled with caffeine.
But there’s more to it than that. Researchers believe that teens are “pre-programmed” to fall asleep late and get up late, unlike adults and younger kids who can fall asleep early and get up early. Some think teens need more hormones for growth, and growth hormones are made during sleep. These experts now ask why schools start so early, if teens need to sleep longer to stay well.
Teensand Sleep Disorders
Most teens are tired because they just aren’t getting enough sleep. But feeling sleepy all the time may be a sign of something more serious: a sleep disorder. With a sleep disorder, you may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, problems with excessive sleepiness, or parasomnias. This last group of sleep problems includes sleep terrors and sleepwalking. Many teen-related sleep disorders fall into one of two groups: a delayed sleep phase or an irregular sleep-wake schedule. Let’s take a closer look at these two problems.
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome
In his book Bipolar II, psychopharmacologist Ronald Fieve, MD, says delayed sleep phase syndrome is a common problem. It is linked to an inability to fall asleep and daytime sleepiness. “This is caused by a short circuit between one’s biological clock and the 24-hour day.”
While delayed sleep phase syndrome is found in those with depression, many teens are at risk, too, if they can’t fall asleep at night and have trouble waking up at 6 a.m. for school.
An Irregular Sleep-Wake Schedule
Fieve says that an irregular sleep-wake schedule happens due to a lack of lifestyle scheduling. The good news is that this means you can fix this sleep disorder.