Sleep is as important to our wellbeing as breathing, drinking, and eating. Our brain requires it to function properly. Even though we’re told this all the time, we continue to see students struggling to stay awake during class. In a study posted by the Center for Advancing Health, researchers found that only 8 percent teens get enough sleep. Without those essential 8 to 10 hours, teens have issues thinking, working, and functioning. Sleep deprivation in teens is an issue that demands immediate attention and action.
Consequences of sleep deprivation in teens
There are many mental, physical, and emotional tolls of sleep deprivation in teens, but not many are aware of how negatively sleep deprivation can impact them. According to the National Sleep Foundation, not getting enough shuteye can lead to issues such as:
- Difficulty learning, listening, concentrating, and thinking critically
- Forgetting important information, such as names, homework, etc.
- Increased risk of developing depression or anxiety
- Inappropriate, aggressive behavior
- Varying eating patterns, leading to under- or over-eating
- Contribute to sickness
- Increase recklessness, especially in driving
Why students are so sleep deprived
According to the Child Mind Institute, sleep deprivation in teens happens for multiple reasons. Apparently a mix of society’s expectations, technology, and biology create the perfect conditions for sleep deprivation. The major reasons for sleep deprived teenagers include:
- Hormonal Changes: During puberty, there is a shift in the amount of melatonin (the sleep hormone) teenage bodies produce. This throws their inner clock off, making their natural time to fall asleep around 11 pm.
- Technology: The light that electronics such as cellphones emit send signals to the brain that it’s not time to go to sleep yet. Using devices at night makes it even harder for teenagers to fall asleep.
- Societal Norms: We live in a society that favors activity over inactivity. This means that sleep is often looked at as time that’s wasted and not a priority, when it should be one of the most important times of the day.
How to help
Parents can help fight against sleep deprivation in teens by educating their children on the harmful effects of not getting enough sleep and creating guidelines to help their teens get to bed at a healthy time. For example, turning off all devices an hour before bed will make it much easier for teenagers to fall asleep.
If your teenager requires further help dealing with the effects of sleep deprivation, many programs exist to help. Solstice RTC is a residential treatment center for struggling girls. We help families work through issues, such as depression and anxiety from sleep deprivation.
For more information about how Solstice RTC can help your daughter, call us at (801)815-8700.