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Sleep Hygiene In Adolescents

Why is sleep important?

Sleep isn’t just “time out” from daily life. It is an active state important for renewing our mental and physical health each day. Sleep has many benefits and sleep deprivation can cause lots of consequences:

What are the benefits of sleep?

  1. Improves learning and memory by memory consolidation
  2. Builds and repairs muscles due to growth hormones being released
  3. Regulates serotonin levels.  High serotonin levels help to create the feeling of happiness
  4. Reduces stress levels
  5. It boost the immune system

Stages of sleep

Sleep is divided into 4 stages (as diagram below) and one complete cycle usually takes around 90 minutes.  On an average night’s sleep, there will be 4 or 5 cycles of sleep usually.

Factors affecting sleep 

There are two general factors that influence how sleepy or how alert anyone is at any given time in a 24- hour period.

  1. Sleep Need

    Sleep need is also known as sleep pressure. It basically means that the longer you stay awake, the sleepier you will become.

  2. Sleep Urge @ Circadian Rhythm

    Sleep urge is our “circadian rhythm,” which is also referred to as “biological clock.” Everyone’s body has this natural timing system, which tells you when you should be awake, and when you should be sleeping. Most people feel a mild need for sleep in the mid-afternoon, and a strong need to sleep at night.

Sleep deprivation and its consequences:

  1. Can cause lots of mental issues eg ADHD, anxiety, depression, irritability
  2. Can cause delayed response to stimulation
  3. Causes reduction in cognitive functioning
  4. Can lead to obesity
  5. Fastens aging
  6. Can increase the risk of getting cancer

 What is sleep hygiene?

Sleep hygiene is a series of habits and rituals that can improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep

What can you do to ensure proper sleep hygiene?

  • Set a routine. Do the same relaxing things each time before bed; like taking a warm shower, listening to quiet music and do some reading
  • Try to go to bed the same time each night. Your body will get used to the schedule
  • Try not to go to sleep more than an hour later or wake up more than 2 to 3 hours later than you do during the week
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool and quiet
  • Exercise regularly but finish exercising at least 3 hours before bedtime
  • Avoid stimulants. Don’t drink beverages with caffeine; such as soda and coffee, after 4 p.m. Nicotine is also a stimulant
  • Avoid big meals before bedtime

Many adolescents have problems with sleep. Sometimes the problem can be severe and in these cases, the adolescents should see a doctor. Usually the doctor will talk to you about sleep hygiene and sometimes start some melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone, which is produced naturally in human and regulates sleep.

Remember, sleep is a very important especially in adolescents.


  1. Morrison, D., McGee, R., & Stantan (1992). Sleep problems in adolescence. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 31(1), 94–99.
  2. Beyound blue/ sleeping well
  3. Sleep hygiene recommendations: American Sleep Association
Last Reviewed : 6 September 2017
Writer : Dr. Hargeet Kaur a/p Basant Singh
Accreditor : Dr. Sheila Marimuthu