The Importance of Sleep for Teenagers

“Almost all teenagers, as they reach puberty, become walking zombies because they are getting far too little sleep,” states Cornell University psychologist James B. Maas. Hectic routines, inexperience in managing time and making healthy choices, caffeine intake, technology use, and many other reasons cause many teenagers today to get an unhealthy average of six to seven hours of sleep (Better Health). Since teens are still growing and are more physically active than any other age group, teenagers have high sleep requirements (Healthfully).

Teenagers need to work to establish healthy habits to get between eight to ten hours of sleep each night to avoid suffering from limited physical ability, poor daily functioning, and mental health issues.

Not getting an adequate amount of sleep limits a teen’s physical ability, daily functioning, and their body’s performance. Getting a good night’s sleep is important for a teen’s health and brain development. It is as important as getting a good amount of exercise and having a healthy diet (Psychology Today).

A teen is still physically and mentally growing, and not getting adequate rest would cause a teen to become easily exhausted (UpstylerInc).

Teenagers cannot function to their full capacity if they do not get enough sleep (UpstylerInc). A teen’s ability to listen, concentrate, learn, and solve problems would be limited as a consequence of not getting the sleep they need (Sleep Foundation). Cognitive issues such as poor judgment and decision-making, trouble with memory, difficulty learning, diminished focus and attention, and the reduced ability to problem solve also stem from a lack of sleep.

Academic and performance issues will also occur. A teen will have poor academic performance, which leads to lower grades. More frequent absence and tardiness can also result from lack of sleep (Psychology Today). Their ability to learn will slow down, and teens will have trouble remembering certain things such as test dates or the work they studied (Resources to Recover).

Lack of sleep is also tied to unhealthy eating habits. A teen would be more tempted to eat more unhealthy foods, such as sweets or fried food, which would lead to weight gain (Sleep Foundation). Their body would have trouble regulating body fat (Healthfully). Acne and other skin problems can also contribute to not receiving enough sleep. A teenager is also more prone to illnesses (Sleep Foundation). A lack of sleep is also linked to high blood pressure (Fox News).

Teens that can drive will endanger themselves and others on the road if they do not get enough sleep. Their reaction time is slower, and they can easily fall asleep on the wheel. Driving while feeling drowsy can be compared to driving while drunk (Resources to Recover). To conclude, a teenager absolutely needs to get enough rest or else their physical performance and ability will be poor.

Mental health and behavioural issues can result from a teenager’s lack of sleep. Depression and anxiety are linked to sleep deprivation. Losing one hour of sleep from the daily amount of sleep a teenager needs causes a 58% rise in suicide attempts and a 38% increase in getting depression. Lack of sleep makes it three times more likely for teens to exhibit strong symptoms of depression (US News). An increase in irritability and impaired moods, trouble controlling emotions, a more negative outlook and attitude, and a higher risk of getting suicidal thoughts, depression, and anxiety will occur if a teen does not get the amount of sleep required (Psychology Today).

Excessive sleepiness during the day can also cause major mood swings and wreck a teen’s already unstable emotions, as the part of the brain that controls the teen’s emotions cannot function properly with little sleep (US News). Inappropriate and/or aggressive behaviour can be shown if a teen does not get enough sleep. Social withdrawal, difficulty in getting along with others, unhealthy eating, and hyperactivity are other issues connected to sleep deprivation (Psychology Today). Results show that there is a 55% increased chance of mood deficits in teens and double the risk of a reduced positive mood linked to sleep deprivation (Science Daily).

A teen is more tempted to indulge in caffeine and possibly alcohol, drugs, and smoking in order to feel more “awake” (Psychology Today). The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse concluded that if a teen got less than eight hours of sleep a day, they could potentially become lifetime users of illegal drugs. Binge drinking and unprotected sex are also linked to sleep deprivation (Newport Academy). If a teenager gets a healthy amount of sleep, their chances of getting depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, mood swings, and behavioural issues will significantly decrease.

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