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Why are teenagers particularly prone to sleep deprivation?

We know that teenagers have their own special needs for sleep and that aspects of their lifestyles make them particularly vulnerable to sleep deprivation:
  • During adolescence, our circadian rhythms change, making teens biologically more inclined to stay up late at night and to wake later in the day. (Yes, your teen’s determination to greet midnight wide awake and never see noon is a biological thing!) This internal drive is at odds with the typical early morning school schedule, which can leave teens woefully short on sleep during the week.
  • Teens just need more sleep than adults do. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep per night for teenagers. Unfortunately, not many are getting this. The NSF estimates that only 15% of teenagers are sleeping 8.5 hours nightly.
  • Their schedules -- with school, sports and friends -- tend to be inconsistent, which makes it more difficult to establish a routine with regular bedtimes and wake times.
  • Teens today are constantly wired to an array of electronic devices. This ever-present technology can interfere with pre-sleep wind-down routines and with sleep itself.

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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.