A good night’s sleep is important for everyone — at every age. But for teens, getting enough sleep is especially important. Yet research shows that about three out of four teens don’t get nearly the amount of sleep they need to support healthy growth and development.
At Nevada Pediatric Specialists, our team specializes in teen health, working closely with teens and their parents to help improve sleep habits for better health and a better quality of life. Here’s what you need to know.
Why sleep is important for teens
For adults, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least seven hours of sleep each night to stay healthy. But for teens, the agency recommends more sleep — 8-10 hours every night.
Ample sleep gives your teen the energy their body needs for the rapid growth and development that’s taking place. It’s also important for long-term health implications, including your teen’s cardiometabolic health.
Research has shown that teens who get the proper amount of sleep have:
- Less belly fat
- Lower incidence of being overweight
- Healthier blood pressure
- Healthier cholesterol levels
- Lower cardiovascular risk
Sleep also helps regulate hormones, repair damaged muscle tissues, and build a strong immune system.
Not just physical health
Sleep helps teens regulate their moods and their behaviors, too, including decreasing the likelihood of risky or negative behaviors. A lack of sleep is strongly associated with increased risks of depression, substance abuse, and suicidal behaviors.
When your teen gets enough sleep, they’re more likely to stay focused and alert in school, leading to better school performance. They’re also more likely to enjoy positive social interactions with their peers and others.
Help your teen get better sleep
There are some things you can do to help your teen get a good night’s sleep so they can enjoy better health, better school performance, and better social connections.
Set a sleep routine
Try to stick to regular bedtime and wake-up times throughout the week. On weekends, it’s OK to deviate a bit, but encourage your teen to stay within an hour of their weekday sleep times to prevent throwing off their internal clock.
Encourage regular exercise and outdoor activities
Regular physical activity promotes healthy rest patterns. Avoid encouraging exercise right before bed, though, because that can make sleep more difficult.
Being out in the sunshine and fresh air is a great way to help your teen naturally regulate their built-in biological clock, making it easier to enjoy more normal sleep-wake cycles.
Make their room a sleep haven
Soft lighting and room-darkening shades set the stage for a good night’s sleep. Keep the room on the cooler side, and encourage bedtime habits like reading, listening to soft music, or meditation. Have them turn off all electronics at least a half-hour before lights out.
Schedule a checkup
While some sleep problems are linked to your teen’s lifestyle habits, they also may be due to underlying sleep disorders. Having regular annual checkups is important for making sure they’re staying healthy and getting the right amount of sleep. Schedule another visit if your teen is experiencing sleep problems.
Health care focused on your teen
Teens have special health needs compared to adults and even compared to younger kids. At Nevada Pediatric Specialists, our team is skilled in identifying health and wellness issues in teens and in providing custom care and guidance to help them stay healthy.
If your teen is having problems with their sleep, call or book an appointment online at our office today. We’re conveniently located in Henderson or Las Vegas, Nevada.