The Importance of Sleep for Teens

Posted by Faith Mackey on Nov 24, 2021 3:35:32 PM
Faith Mackey

Who needs sleep? Everyone! (But especially teens.)

While the amount of sleep humans need varies by age, it is an essential body function like eating and drinking water. Sleep allows for the body to rest, recharge, and repair. When we do not get enough sleep, our body budgets are out of balance and we can be prone to anger, stress, and general upsets. Those who suffer from depression and anxiety can also experience worsened symptoms when not getting enough sleep.

How do I Know if I Need Sleep? 

It is relatively easy to tell if one needs more sleep. When your body does not get enough sleep, you may feel: 

  • Lethargic
  • Irritable
  • Drowsy
  • Depressed 
  • Anxious
  • Decreased Energy
  • Unable to concentrate

Recommended Sleep

The time needed to sleep changes as we age. The CDC recommends that teens get between 8-10 hours of sleep a night, and adults need at least 7 hours. But it is not just sleep in general but the quality of your sleep that also matters; later in this blog post, we will outline some ways to improve your sleep quality to get optimal rest. 

Why do students need more sleep?

Middle School and High School students are going through one of the most significant transitional periods of their lives. Lack of sleep can contribute to a variety of physical health problems such as diabetes and obesity. Mental health issues such as increased anxiety and depression can also arise from a lack of sleep.

Higher levels of sleep are essential for students because more sleep contributes to mental clarity, better mood, ability to function, and can be traced to improved grades as well. 

When we do not get enough sleep, we feel foggy and less responsive. Additionally, since the teenage years are a period of change hormonally, getting enough sleep is essential for supporting these changes. Many of the symptoms of puberty, such as growing pains, muscle growth, acne, and mood changes, can all be better supported and less severe when paired with enough sleep.

Sleep is also critical for an improved immune system. With flu and cold season approaching, one great way to prevent yourself from catching a cold is to get more sleep! 

paths-sleep-tipsWays to Get Better Sleep 

  1. Avoid or reduce caffeine consumption during the day.
    Caffeine can keep you more awake when it is time to go to bed and cause you to take longer to fall asleep or delay how deep your sleep will be. 
  2. Try to go to bed around the same time every night.
    Going to bed at the same time every night trains your body to prepare itself to go to bed around a certain hour, and thus you will be more sleepy around the same time every night. 
  3. Be active during the day.
    When we are not active enough during the day, this can cause us to have pent-up energy, making it more challenging to relax and go to sleep at the end of the day.
  4. Refrain from looking at electronic devices thirty minutes before bed.
    The blue light emitted from your phone or computer screens halts the body’s melatonin production (the neurotransmitter that makes you sleepy), making you feel more awake and less ready to go to bed. 
  5. Journal before bed.
    Journaling before bed can aid in relieving stress and allowing one to process their emotions from the day. 

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Topics: Social and emotional learning, middle school, Emozi® Middle School, self-management, Self-Care