Teen Health: Sleep Issues - Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

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Is Your Teen Up Until Dawn & Asleep Until Dinner?

If so, don't worry. Your child is not a vampire. His or her internal clock is just out of whack.

We all have an internal clock that influences body temperature, sleep cycles, appetite and hormonal changes. These cycles are called circadian rhythms. Puberty changes a teen's internal clock.

Unfortunately school, homework, sports, jobs and their social life get in the way of teens need for at least nine hours of sleep each night. In fact, more teens today are skimping on sleep.

This lack of sleep may put your child at risk for many health problems. Poor or scant sleep has been linked to more illnesses, obesity and future heart troubles. Additionally, adolescents who don't get enough sleep may do worse at school because they have trouble concentrating or remembering. Plus a lack of sleep may influence low self-esteem, depression or other mental health issues.

"You can't monitor your child's every sleeping moment," says Dr. Lisa Wolf, Family Medicine. "So ask your teen regularly about his or her sleep schedule."

Your child may not be sleeping well if he or she has trouble waking up in the morning or falls asleep during the day. He or she may also be irritable, angry or unfocused.

How to Get the Best Sleep

A teen's tips for getting the best sleep:

  • "Unplug" their bedroom.
  • Put down the electronics at least one hour before bedtime.
  • Curb the caffeine.
  • Nix the long naps.
  • Reduce daytime stimulation.
  • Try to establish a nightly routine.

"If you are concerned about your child’s trouble sleeping, talk with his or her doctor," says Dr. Wolf. "Adolescents can have the same sleep issues as adults, including medication side effects, insomnia and sleep apnea."

If you're looking for a doctor, find one today!

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Teen Health: Sleep Issues