Teenagers are at a pivotal point in their life as they are no longer children but not yet adults. Because they are still growing it is important that they get enough sleep. Even once they reach adulthood this will be important but because they’re growing and their bodies and their brain are still developing it’s even more so. Here we’ll take a look at the effects of sleep deprivation on a teenager’s brain.
How Much Sleep Does A Teenager Need?
All of the substantial studies and research done suggest that teenagers will need between 8 to 10 hours of sleep each and every night. They may often feel that they have plenty of energy and this may make them believe that they can do with less but the research shows clearly that they will be more healthy and their brain will function better if they get enough sleep. One of the big problems is the fact that their natural time clock makes them want to go to sleep a bit later and yet most school systems have them starting early in the morning.
For this reason, a typical teenager gets only 6 to 7 hours of sleep on most nights. This is substantially less than the hours needed and this can have a major impact on their health and the development of their brain. The overall effect can not only reduce their ability to think clearly and to retain information that they study but it can also have an effect on their emotional state of mind as well.
Additional studies have found that when a teenager constantly keeps a smartphone on them and takes it with them when they go to bed that it reduces the amount of sleep that they get. Sleep time should be just that and they really need a room where the thing they do most in that room is sleep and they don’t need distractions like a smartphone that can keep them awake.
What Causes A Teenager To Be Sleep Deprived?
Because a teenager is still growing they have a number of changes that are happening in their body and this includes hormonal shifts. One of the effects of this shift is that their internal clocks move forward up to two hours and this makes them want and need to sleep later. But because their school starts early they have to get up in time to go. This will ultimately lead to sleep deprivation and all of the negative effects that go along with it.
In some studies that have been done, it was found that an average teenager could get up to an extra 30 minutes of sleep simply by turning off their cell phone an hour before bedtime. This can typically mean that the average teenager gets two and a half hours of sleep more by doing this over the course of a week than those that do not. That amount of extra sleep can add up significantly in a positive way.
The body works with a number of internal cues to let the person know when they should sleep and when they should wake. One of these cues is light. If a teenager has a cell phone with lights and they have the television on or the computer, these are all cues that the body will use to think that it’s supposed to be awake. When too much light is on then the body fails to produce hormones that help the person sleep deeply. When these hormones are absent they are highly likely to sleep less deeply and awaken sooner.
What Happens To A Teenager’s Brain When They Are Sleep-Deprived?
As the effects begin to set in, the teenager will begin to notice that they have difficulty concentrating. They won’t be able to pay attention as well and they’ll find that they lack the ability to remember information. It will even lead to making poor decisions and to a lack of any real motivation.
They may become moody and aggressive. One of the big things is that teenagers are faced with all kinds of temptations and even a good teenager might make poor decisions when they’re unable to think clearly. When they are sleep deprived they are several times more likely to make a bad decision then they would make if they were getting enough sleep.
What Can You Do To Help Your Teenager Get More Sleep?
Often parents don’t want their child to sleep too late on the weekends. This is a mistake because this is an opportunity for them to catch up on some of the sleep that they missed out on during the week. It’s important that you encourage your teenager to try and go to sleep earlier on Sunday night so that they’re not as drowsy when starting out on Monday. The most important thing is that you pay attention to see if your teenager is going to bed at a reasonable hour and if you notice any sudden mood changes or a drop in there grades at school as these are good indicators that they are sleep deprived.