A large number of teenagers find it difficult to catch sleep these days. Sleep issues make them awake all night even though they wish to sleep. Sleep-deprived teenagers struggle in academics, sports and other daily activities. We find them moody, depressed or suffering from other emotional issues. Studies say that teens who drive without enough sleep are more prone to accidents. The average teen needs 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night. However, many of them struggle to go asleep that early since their brains are wired to work on a later schedule. During adolescence, the body resets its innate sleep clock causing teens to sleep late at night and wake up late in the morning. This happens as a result of teens’ brains producing melatonin (sleep hormone) later at night than children’s and adults’ brains. This sleep–wake cycle delay can sometimes be so worse that it interferes with a person’s everyday activities. This condition is known as “night owl” syndrome or delayed sleep phase syndrome. Anyways, this is not the only reason why teenagers have trouble sleeping. The production of melatonin is further delayed by bright lights and blue light from electronic gadgets, making sleep even more difficult. Many people suffer from insomnia, which is the inability to fall or stay asleep. It might be difficult to sleep for a variety of reasons.
Teenage is the time of tremendous hormonal changes. The body clock shifts to one or two hours forward because of these puberty hormones. This makes them sleep late at night. Early school hours also lead to sleep obstruction in teenagers. This “sleep debt” accumulates over time, resulting in chronic sleep deprivation.
Hectic after school/college schedule
Many teens have numerous after-school activities like tuition, homework, sports, part time jobs, other social activities, etc. It is the time of exploring new things other than academics. This consumes a lot of time from their life other than the school/college schedule, and affects the quality of sleep.
Over use of electronic devices
Teens are getting alarmingly addicted to digital devices nowadays. Mobile phones are a big source of entertainment and information which is really captivating for teenagers. Smartphones and other electronic gadgets used before going to bed limit sleep time. According to some studies, teens who put aside their phones an hour before bedtime get an extra 21 minutes of sleep per night.
Excessive leisure activities
The sources of stimulating entertainment like television, the internet, and computer gaming might keep the teens awake at night. Some outdoor games such as cricket, football and badminton also make them spend a lot of their time which ultimately reduces their sleep hours.
In this world of competition, keeping active and awake are more valued than sleep. Everyone is getting more alert and vigilant to cope up with the changing trends and competition. It is like we need to prove our efficiency by being awake. Sleep is the most sacrificed element in this race.
There are many sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome (RLS), hypersomnia, circadian rhythm disorders, and parasomnia which result in sleep deprivation in teenagers. Symptoms of any of the above need to be discussed with a doctor.
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