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HealthInfo Canterbury

Sleep advice for teens

Teenagers need a lot of sleep to manage the increasing demands of their busy lives. School work, socialising and new responsibilities take it out of you. You need much more sleep than an adult because your brain is still doing a lot of growing.

As you grow older your body clock shifts. You get tired later in the evening and wake up later in the morning than younger children. You actually need the same sleep as younger children, or more. Unfortunately, this conflicts with everyday life. You are often forced to get up hours before your body is ready. Teenagers who set their own bedtimes usually end up with a sleep shortage that has built up over weeks and months.

Another thing that stops teenagers getting enough sleep is the use of screens. If you watch TV or play with devices in your room at night, you are often doing this instead of going to sleep.

Brightly lit screens reduce your body's ability to produce melatonin, a hormone that helps make you feel sleepy. While you might think you are using your screen to relax until you can sleep, your device or TV is actually keeping you awake. As a result, if you regularly use screens at night, you will end up with an even greater sleep shortage. This can lead to low mood and energy, poor school performance and lots of other difficulties.

Teenagers are gaining independence and making their own choices in many areas of life. But teenagers whose parents set their bedtime have less depression and suicide. Try to have a regular bed time and waking time. Make your bedroom strictly device-free. This will make a big difference in how refreshed you feel when you wake. It will also have positive effects across all areas of your life.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by the Youth Specialty Service and clinical director, Sleep Unit, Canterbury DHB. Page created June 2016.

Source

See also:

Tips for sleeping well (sleep hygiene)

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Page reference: 276747

Review key: HISLE-11928