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How Much Sleep Does Your Teen Need?

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According to the American Sleep Disorders Association, the average teenager needs around 9.5 hours of sleep per night, possibly because hormones that are critical to growth and sexual maturation are released mostly during slumber. Yet studies show that teenagers generally get an average of only 7.4 hours a night. This is far short of the desired quota for healthy teens. Find out how lack of sleep affects school here.

Researchers at Stanford University found in a study that teenagers require more sleep, by 1 to 2 hours, than do their younger 9- and 10-year-old siblings, who only require about 8 hours of sleep. This contradicts parents, since we tend to give later bed times and curfews to our children as they get older.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping an eye out for signs of sleep deprivation:

  • difficulty waking in the morning
  • irritability in the afternoon
  • falling asleep during the day; see Problems at School
  • oversleeping on the weekend
  • having difficulty remembering or concentrating
  • waking up often and having trouble going back to sleep
Sleep deprivation can be the cause behind extreme moodiness, poor performance in school and depression. Teens also have high risk of having car accidents because of falling asleep behind the wheel.

Here are a few suggestions to get your teen the sleep they need:

  • establish a reasonable bedtime and wake time, make this consistent throughout the week
  • establish a bedtime routine, taking a hot bath or quiet activity beforehand
  • cut down on caffine consumption
  • daily exercise, make sure this is at least 2 hours before bedtime.

    Quick Links: Quiz: Are you raising a healthy teen? | Teen Wellness

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