Call nowLocation

Newborn Photography Frederick MD

The teenage years are a time of such rapid growth, development, and change, both physically and mentally. Because of this, restorative sleep is extra important for teens. Getting enough sleep is an important part of overall health and well-being, emotional regulation, and mental focus. Yet, sleep for teens often takes a hit because of academic pressures, social activities, and extracurricular commitments. So how can you help your teen get enough sleep without placing too many limitations on other areas of their lives? Let’s look at several reasons why teenagers need so much sleep, as well as some tips on how to help them get the sleep they need.

Is my teen just being lazy?

Reasons Why Teenagers Need So Much Sleep:

Teenagers undergo significant changes in their sleep patterns and circadian rhythms during adolescence. As adolescents transition into puberty, their internal biological clock shifts, leading to a natural delay in their sleep-wake cycle. This phenomenon, known as delayed sleep phase syndrome, causes teens to feel more alert in the evening and struggle to fall asleep earlier at night. Because of this, many teenagers have a hard time waking up early in the morning, leading to sleep deprivation and a constant sleep deficit.

Growth and Development

Sleep plays a huge role in supporting a teenager’s physical growth and development. The adolescent years are characterized by rapid growth spurts, hormonal changes, and brain maturation. During deep sleep stages, the body releases growth hormones that help with tissue repair, muscle growth, and bone development.

Cognitive Functioning

Quality sleep is also crucial for cognitive functioning, learning, and memory consolidation. And these are all needed for academic success. Research has shown that sleep deprivation impairs attention, concentration, problem-solving skills, and decision-making abilities in teenagers. On the flip side, adequate sleep enhances cognitive performance, creativity, and academic achievement, helping teens to perform optimally in school and extracurricular activities.

Emotional Regulation

Teenagers are often known for being moody. Emotional volatility and mood swings are normal and common during adolescence, but sufficient sleep can help tremendously. Chronic sleep deprivation can exacerbate mood disorders, anxiety, depression, and irritability in teenagers, and these things can then lead to sleep loss, causing a vicious cycle. But healthy sleep habits help with emotional regulation, stress management, and mental health, which can also lead to better sleep and cause a positive cycle.

Immune Function

Sleep, or lack thereof, also greatly affects our immune systems. Teens typically have more exposure to viruses and infections because of school, contact sports, and frequently being in public places and in close contact with other teens. Sleep is a huge way to help prevent sickness, as that is when our bodies undergo crucial repair processes and have our immune response strengthened. Prioritizing sleep is vital for supporting immune health and overall resilience in teenagers.

Risk Prevention

Sleep deprivation can be risky. It can lead to poor academic performance, poor behavior, substance abuse, and impaired driving. Chronic sleep deficiency increases the risk of accidents, injuries, and impaired judgment. By prioritizing healthy amounts of sleep, these risks can be reduced or completely eliminated.

Practical Tips for Supporting Teenage Sleep:

It can be hard for a teenager to maintain healthy sleep habits while juggling the busyness of academic, social, extracurricular, and family commitments, so here are some practical tips:

Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Encourage your teenager to try to maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule. Exceptions to the schedule will happen, but having a baseline routine to return to is so beneficial. Consistency helps regulate the body’s internal clock and promotes restful sleep.

Create a Restful Sleep Environment

Make sure your teen has a conducive sleep environment free from distractions, such as electronic devices, excessive noise, and bright lights. You could ask them if blackout curtains, a fan, or a white noise machine would help them sleep better, and try to accommodate if they would find any of that particularly helpful.

Limit Screen Time Before Bed

Encourage teens to avoid electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, before bedtime. The blue light emitted from screens can disrupt sleep patterns and interfere with melatonin production.

Encourage Relaxation Techniques

If your teen is struggling with sleep, you can help by teaching him or her some relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or gentle stretching, to unwind before bed and promote relaxation.

Use Lavender

Lavender oil has calming effects and has been shown to help improve quality of sleep. Your teen can try diffusing lavender oil in the bedroom, or sprinkle a few drops on his or her pillow. The Vitamin Shoppe in Frederick carries diffusers and a variety of different lavender and sleep-promoting oils.

Sufficient sleep is important for all of us. But teenagers really do need more sleep than adults. So the next time you’re feeling frustrated with your teen for sleeping in too late on the weekends, remember that their bodies are trying to gain back whatever sleep they lost during the week. As the parent, you can help your teen become aware of and take ownership of developing healthy sleep habits so they can thrive academically, emotionally, and socially.

Book Your Teenager’s Senior Photo Session!

If you are the parent of a teenager who is graduating this year, I would be honored to capture your teen’s senior portraits. Graduating from high school is a huge accomplishment, and aside from needing photos for grad party invitations or graduation announcements, a professional photo shoot is a great way to honor this milestone in your child’s life. Feel free to contact me with any questions or to go ahead and book a session! 

And while you’re here, check out my blog post on all of the great locations around Frederick to have your senior’s session!