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Why are my teenager's sleeping habits changing?

During the teenage years, the sleep cycle changes from getting sleepy around 8 to 9 p.m. to between 10 and 11 p.m. This is likely linked to puberty, but the exact cause is unknown. Teens also may need more sleep, and should get between eight to ten hours a night for full rest. Sleep is more important than ever in the teen years as it is vital for the growing body and mind.
Studies have shown that during adolescence, circadian rhythms change. These include a shift in the timing of the release of the sleep-hormone melatonin, and changes in sensitivity to light at certain times of day and night. These biological adjustments to teens’ circadian clocks result in significant transformation of adolescents sleep patterns:
  • Teens become more prone to daytime sleepiness, and more alert at night
  • Teens experience a delayed onset of sleep
These biological shifts are not confined to humans. Studies show that other mammals also experience similar changes in sleep patterns during adolescence. Research also indicates that these biological changes -- and their impact on sleep -- begin often before physical changes of puberty are apparent. As early as age 11, children’s bedtimes are delayed, and total sleep amounts are reduced.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.