Teenagers and Sleep

Why do humans need to sleep?

Sleep is very vital for your brain. Sleep is as important as air, water and food that you need to survive!

Sleep allows the brain to re-energise itself and consolidate the information process. It helps the brain to grow new cells and repair worn out tissues.


I am a teenager. Why is good sleep so important to me?

A good night sleep is vital for young person like you. It enables you to get rest and rejuvenate for the next day task.


How much sleep do I need?

Most teenagers need 8.5 to 10 hours of sleep a night to feel rested and energetic.


Why do some teenager have difficulty sleeping?

Major physical and psychosocial changes occur during teenage years. The timing of certain hormones in our body changes, alters our sleeping pattern! As a 9 year old you may have felt sleepy by 9 pm every night. Now at an older age you do not feel sleepy at all at 9 pm! A substance called melatonin is responsible for this change.


What can I do to be able to sleep well?

Set a regular bedtime:

Have a bedtime routine. Make it a habit to go to bed at the same time every night.

Observe healthy lifestyle:

  • Doing regular exercise helps you to sleep well.
  • Do not take caffeinated drinks before bedtime
  • Take your evening meal at least 2 hours before going to bed.
  • Complete your daily tasks like homework and sports training early. Otherwise it is harder to relax and fall asleep.
  • Avoid watching television as it can disrupt your sleep.
  • Avoid playing computer games or long telephone chat just before you go to bed.
  • Do relaxing activities like listening to soothing music or by doing meditation before going to bed.
  • Quiet and calm activities help you to fall asleep more easily!
  • Make your room comfortable and conducive to sleep. Keep it cool, quiet and dark.
  • Get a good comfortable mattress too!
  • Every night, the room should be made darker as it induces the brain to go to sleep. Bright light in the morning tells the brain when to wake up.

Take a nap at daytime

A short nap of less than 1 hour during daytime soon after school can help you to remain alert over the next 6 to 8 hours.


So what if I don’t sleep well?

  • Some teenagers do have difficulties going to sleep.
  • It may be due pressure of school, home or relationships with friends.
  • If you have any stressor, talk to people you are confident with e.g parents, teachers, relatives and friends


What happens if I don’t get enough sleep?

  • Skipping sleep can be harmful.
  • You may have difficulty waking up in the morning.
  • It may limit your ability to learn, listen, concentrate and solve problems. This may affect your examination results
  • Sleepiness can make it hard to get along with your family and friends.
  • It causes irritability and moodiness. It may lead to aggressive or inappropriate behaviour such as yelling at your friends, teachers or family members.
  • Lack of sleep may also contribute to acne and other skin problems.

Last Reviewed : 26 Mac 2012
Writer : Dr. Thiyagar Nadarajaw