How Much Sleep Does a Teenager Need?

How Much Sleep Does a Teenager Need?

Teenagers are notorious for not getting adequate amount of sleep at night. As they enter the teenage years, they become more active as they get a constant influx of activities. In between school, home, and their social lives, they are exposed to several factors that could disrupt their natural sleeping patterns. And yet, quality and adequate amount of sleep is most important for teens. Sleep serves as the fuel for their brain and the important processes involved as they mature. Without proper sleep, teens’ development and growth could stall, too. But how much sleep does a teenager need exactly?

Understanding Teens’ Chronotype

The chronotype refers the behavioral manifestation of many underlying physical processes on a human being at different stages in their lives. For example, certain chronotypes can determine an individual’s ability to sleep at a particular time during the period of an entire day. This will change throughout a person’s lifetime. 

In the case of teens, there is a biological transformation that also affects their sleeping patterns. This results in a later sleep-wake cycle. The release of melatonin in teens will often come as late as 11 PM. That melatonin level will also drop during the morning. This explains why teens have a higher energy level in the afternoon and evening. In addition, they prefer afternoon to evening activities over morning ones.

Coping with Teens’ Sleep Requirements

The changes in the biological sleep patterns for teens can pose challenges to meet the requirements for their age. Nonetheless, parents can closely monitor their teens to ensure that they get the recommended number of hours of sleep each night. The ideal number for teens is at least 8 hours per night. However, 10 hours of sleep can also be good for them to perform better and for the brain functions to improve. 

Due to the difficulties cited above, not all teens are able to meet the minimum hours of sleep. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation cites that only 15% of teens get 8 hours (or more) of sleep during school nights. This explains why a lot of teens also develop irregular sleeping schedules as many try to make up for lack of sleep during the weekdays in the weekends. Sleeping in on weekends is their way of recovering from sleep debt

How Much Sleep Does a Teenager Need and Why It’s Important

As mentioned above, 8 to 10 hours of sleep is recommended for teenagers. This will enable the mind and body to recover from all the activities during their waking days. It is as vital as food and water for well-being. 

Sleep matters most to teens because it serves as the fuel for their brain development. The brain is at its most active while a person is asleep. For adolescence and teens with developing brains, sleep is integral to facilitate healthy brain development. The pre-frontal cortex of the brain is responsible for functions such as emotional regulation, decision making, and complex thinking. This is the last part of the brain to fully develop. Hence, depriving your brain of sleep as a teen can affect the development in those key areas.  

Parents play a crucial role in regulating teens’ sleeping patterns. Help them to establish the right attitude and habits that would make them sleep better. 

About Daren Denholm

Daren Denholm went from nearly failing University to becoming the Highest Ranked Competitor at the World Memory Championships from Africa and the Southern Hemisphere for 6 years in a row! (2006 – 2011) He was also the only person in the world to compete in ALL 6 World Memory Championships during this time.