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Alaska Sleep Education Center

How Sleep Helps Teens Cope with Stress

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Aug 12, 2019 10:20:00 AM

With Alaska schools back in session in 9 days, the whirlwind of classes, clubs, athletics, jobs, friends and family can lead to a lot of sleepless nights and stressful days.  

Teenagers are living life at full speed — growing, learning, studying, exploding with hormones, learning to drive, gaining autonomy and coping with daily pressure and stress. It turns out that they need more sleep than adults to stay healthy and safe – and cope with stress.

To learn more about why sleep is so important for teens and how parents can help them get the rest they need, we reached out to Janet K. Kennedy, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, founder of NYC Sleep Doctor and author of The Good Sleeper: The Essential Guide to Sleep for Your Baby (and You).

Why is sleep so important for teens?
Sleep is an essential bodily function for everyone. But for teens especially, it’s the body’s time to repair the damage of the day, regulate hormones, consolidate memory, solidify learning, and restore energy so they can wake up and do it all over again the next day.

What the recommended amount of sleep for teenagers?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that teens get 8-10 hours of sleep nightly. Most teens do not get this much sleep.

Are there certain hours that are optimal for a teen’s bedtime and wake time?
Teenagers’ body clocks are skewed later than that of children and adults. Some teens have trouble falling asleep before 11 (or even later), which makes it hard to get enough sleep and get to school on time.

How does lack of sleep add to a teen’s stress level?
Lack of sleep increases levels of adrenaline and cortisol, making us feel wired, edgy and stressed. That physical stress combines with the psychological stress of homework, social stress, over-scheduled extracurricular activities, pressure to perform, and looming responsibilities of adulthood that can feel overwhelming. And stress hormones make it harder to fall asleep, creating a cycle of sleep debt that is hard to break out of.

Are there other consequences for teens for not getting enough sleep?

Not getting enough sleep affects every aspect of a teenager’s life:

Poor memory and concentration leads to poor retention and performance at school.

Response time is impaired and car accidents are more likely.

Hormones triggering poor food choices and metabolic changes cause weight gain.

Irritability contributes to family and/or social conflict and can lead to more serious mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

Immune function is lowered and risk of colds or flu is increased.

Acne gets worse.

How can parents help set the stage for their teens to get a good night’s rest?

Parents can and should help teens develop good sleep habits:

Screens should be OFF and preferably out of the bedroom at least one hour before bed. This is important because screens keep kids (and us) plugged in to the day’s work and social activity. We have to train ourselves — and our kids — to unplug.

Phones, tablets and computers also emit blue light that suppresses the brain’s release of melatonin, delaying the body’s sleep signal. This is especially important for teenagers because their melatonin release is already on the late side. Delaying it further can cause insomnia and sleep deprivation.

Limit caffeine and eliminate super-caffeinated drinks designed to keep you awake. The body can take hours to metabolize caffeine. And even if someone is able to fall asleep after drinking caffeinated beverages, the stimulant effect interferes with deep sleep and makes sleep less restful.

No napping in the evening. Naps — and especially late naps — derail the body’s sleep clock, making it harder to get the consolidated nighttime sleep that is so important.

Don’t oversleep on weekends. Sleeping much later than normal and taking long naps on weekends makes it harder to get the sleep you need. The body works best when it has a consistent rhythm. A cycle of weekday sleep deprivation and weekend oversleeping keeps the body in a state of stress and fatigue.

As unpleasant as it sounds, it’s best to get up around the same time each day, even on weekends. It’s usually fine to sleep an hour later on weekends, but more than that can lead to Sunday night insomnia, setting up the cycle of sleep deprivation for another week.

 

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Topics: teens, stress

Too Stressed to Sleep

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Jul 18, 2019 11:35:00 AM

Sometimes falling asleep can be more difficult than we think it should be.   Perhaps you find yourself tossing and turning in bed, unable to shut off your thoughts.   Even when you seemingly fall asleep, anxiety dreams take over, such as missing an assignment or appointment at work or school.   Eventually you wake up even more exhausted than before you went to bed. 

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Topics: stress, losing sleep

The Spooky Side Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Posted by Sally Norton on Jul 2, 2019 10:15:47 AM

It is a known fact that a night without enough sleep can lead to a rather grumpy morning. But, sleep deprivation does not come with yawns and red eyes only. Of course, not having those six to eight hours of sleep every night is common nowadays.

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Topics: sleep apnea, stress, mood

Can't Turn Your Brain Off at Night? We Can Help!!

Posted by Stefanie Leiter on May 5, 2019 6:00:00 PM

Outside the normal snoring or heartburn, sometimes sleeping through the night can be a challenge. If you are experiencing an unusual high amount of stress, journaling can be the answer to start piecing together with your doctor before taking the next step with a sleep study.

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Topics: stress, sleep hygiene, cognitive sleep issues

Saying "Yes" to EVERYTHING!

Posted by Stefanie Leiter on Apr 17, 2019 6:14:00 PM

Have you ever fell into a spot in life where you over-commit? It normally happens one day when you are trying to find time to unwind and you realize there are no spots on the calendar. Before you know it your schedules are overlapping your schedule and your family is in disarray.

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Topics: stress, sleep test

Sleeping in Spite of Anxiety

Posted by Sally Norton on Apr 9, 2019 1:00:00 PM

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Topics: stress, anxiety, cognitive sleep issues

How Mental Illness Affects Sleep

Posted by Guest Blogger: Joe Auer on Apr 3, 2019 11:11:00 AM

How Mental Illness Affects Healthy Sleep

Mental health and sleep are often intertwined. Even if you sleep every night, too little or poor quality sleep can compromise your ability to think clearly and be mentally productive. If you're already dealing with anxiety, depression or other mental health concerns, then healthy sleep may be challenging to get on a regular basis. Check out the facts below regarding the relationship between mental illness and sleep to see if you could be getting a better night’s rest.

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Topics: stress, cognitive sleep issues, mental

Yoga Your Way to Better Sleep

Posted by Stefanie Leiter on Mar 25, 2019 10:07:00 AM

We all have those mornings when, like this little puppy, we did not get an adequate amount of sleep. We push through the day tired, unproductive, and grumpy.

It is no secret exercising is good for your body and fosters a healthy weight while encouraging healthy eating. But did you know exercise helps reduce stress? And a main reason for lack of sleep is stress. If you fall into this bucket, try adding a new exercise routine from the comfort of your bed with yoga.

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Topics: alaska sleep clinic, stress, exercise, yoga

The Night before a Job Interview: What to Do For Good Sleep.

Posted by Allen Cranston on Mar 18, 2019 5:00:00 AM

What to do the night before an interview? You must be worried about what is going to happen during a job interview and how to prepare for it. Whether you are a fresh graduate or an experienced person, it mandatory for you to prepare yourself and do a couple of things before going to bed, one of them is that you should iron your clothes and must manage stress and depression.

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Topics: stress, sleep hygiene, caffeine

Black Friday Is a Great Day to Sleep!

Posted by Kristen Havens, www.SleepResolutions.com on Nov 22, 2018 2:00:00 PM

The day after Thanksgiving isn't a day of rest for everybody. Some people need to go back to work on Friday. Some sign up to run turkey trot 10Ks or marathons. Others dedicate their day off to volunteering by helping the less fortunate at soup kitchens. But for many Americans, that jump on the long weekend means shopping: waking up early and getting out of the house for Black Friday sales. 

Some shoppers, famously, get in line on Thursday night and camp outside stores so they can get a jump on the competition when the doors open. Some stores open as early as midnight to accommodate eager customers fueled by the excitement of getting good deals before inventory runs out. 

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Topics: stress, holiday, beauty sleep

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