by Tim O’Keeffe
Sleep is vital to everyone’s well-being—just as important as oxygen, food and water. Teenagers need between eight and 10 hours of sleep each night to function best, yet one study found that only 15 percent report sleeping 8½ hours on school nights. There are several biological reasons why teens more sleep, including:
Sleep Phase Delay
The internal body clock controls the circadian rhythms in the body, which make people feel sleepy or alert at regular times each day. During puberty, teens experience a change in their circadian rhythms known as “sleep phase delay,” which causes their need to sleep to be delayed about two hours, from 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. Despite the fact that they begin going to sleep later, teenagers still require an average of nine hours of sleep per night and because they have to wake up early for school, they will be sleep deprived if they don’t get to bed on time.
Irregular Sleep Patterns
Teens also need to have regular sleep patterns during the week, and they tend to stay up late and sleep in on weekends, which can affect their biological clocks and diminish the quality of their sleep. The use of caffeine or nicotine also makes it hard for a teen to get the rest they need.
Many teens suffer from undiagnosed yet treatable sleep disorders, including narcolepsy, insomnia, restless legs syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea. The huge swings in emotions and moods that are common among teens can also result in major sleep issues. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adolescents who exhibit signs of depression on a frequent or even daily basis are more likely to have sleep problems.