Why will a teenager be having trouble sleeping at their young age? Well… sleep clinic trial show that teenagers are in the fastest part of their growth phase during this time.
Teenagers Having Trouble Sleeping
The sleep clock of teenagers has been found to be irregular or different when compared to that of an adult or a child. This is because their sleep routine during the weekend is always different when attending school regularly.
During weekends, teenagers most times go to bed at late hours, while also waking up late in the morning. Going late to bed at night deprives them of sufficient sleep during school days. The least amount of sleep a teen needs to stay healthy is 8 hours of sleep.
Why sleep pattern of teenagers is irregular
The biological makeup of teenagers is such that they have to go late to bed. Individual lifestyle is a big influencing factor. The older they get, the longer it takes. Their 24-hour body clock changes later on in life, making them feel sleepy during late hours of the night. These changes are natural.
However, certain other factors can alter your internal sleep clock making you unwilling to go to bed as at when due thereby making you feel lethargic in the morning of the next day.
Some of them include; distraction from your devices such as phones and tablet, always working late into the night which could be as a result of heavy assignment or part-time work.
Going to bed late at night during weekends and waking late in the morning has a way of offsetting your sleep pattern, thus promoting your brain to adjust to this.
How frequent is irregular sleep patterns among teenagers
90% of teenagers sleep in late on weekends. Provided they can sustain such lifestyle pattern or just change their sleep time by less than 2 hours, they will just be fine.
The trouble is that 40% change their sleep patterns during weekends by more than 2 hours. In the end, a good number of them end up sleeping less than 8 hours during school days.
Does irregular sleep pattern affect teenagers?
While some are affected by irregular sleep pattern, others are just fine. Some of the symptoms of irregular sleep pattern include; always being late to school, feeling lethargic and moody during the day, dizziness and sometimes performing poorly in school.
In what way can you help them?
There are lots of things a teenager with irregular sleep pattern can do. Try to keep your mobile devices out of the bedroom during the night or better still, dim their light. Also try to settle in bed much earlier. Going to bed at regular times at night is also a viable solution.
Try not to sleep excessively during weekends. When you wake on mornings of weekends, try getting sufficient daylight while also actively engaging yourself. Take your breakfast earlier, and get dressed early.
When is the right time to seek help?
There are lots of reasons why it is important for teenagers to seek help. The most important of them is the need for them to get their sleep pattern back to shape when they find it difficult to go to bed and wake on time.
Once you notice this or find out that your grades are dropping due to the difficulty you face getting to school, then it is about time you sought for professional help. A sleep specialist will be of help here.
Ways of treating irregular sleep pattern
Teenagers most often change their sleep and wake time. Most times, treatment is just about reversing their sleep time which involves them going earlier to bed than usual. An affected teenager will have to retire to bed 30 minutes earlier, while also waking 30 minutes earlier in the mornings.
While sleeping, you will need to stay away from too much. However, you will need sufficient light in the mornings. Outdoor light will be a good option here. This form of treatment is known as Bright light therapy. The aim of bright light therapy is to readjust your internal sleep mechanism so as to make it possible for you to fall asleep during the early hours of the night.
You may require advanced treatment if you have symptoms of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, which is the severe form of sleeping.
Other factors responsible for delayed sleeping
One of the symptoms of depression is irregular sleeping. Increasing the time spent sleeping is a good form of treatment as it helps lighten the mood. It is recommended you pay a visit to a doctor if you suspect you are suffering from anxiety or depression.