Alaska Sleep Education Center

Teen Angst and Anxiety: Not Just 4 John Hughes' Movies

Posted by Stefanie Leiter on Oct 26, 2018 10:28:00 PM

Teenagers bring a lot of their problems with them to the bedroom. A stressful school day, homework, activities, jobs, and social schedules cram a short 24 hours. Physiological and emotional reasons create these sleep-related difficulties.

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Topics: teens, anxiety

The Comprehensive Guide to Sleep Deprivation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment: Chapter 2

Posted by Guest blogger: Joe Smith, on Oct 13, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Chapter 2

Sleep Deprivation in Teens and College Students

For many years, it has been argued that adolescents have different sleeping patterns from adults and children, but it has often been marked as laziness amongst teenagers by adults. However, numerous research has shown that teenagers do actually have a biological tendency to go to sleep as much as two hours later than adults, and that their sleep cycles differ as a result, and the push to fall asleep is a much slower one.

With things like evening activities and weekend events, the brain doesn’t think that it is nighttime until later, and so melatonin secretion is turned off later in the morning, making it harder for them to get up. Due to the way we want teenagers to function each day, their sleep cycle is disrupted, and they lose a lot of the deepest and most effective rest period.

It doesn’t help that teenagers and college students are expected to have so many commitments, which causes them a lot of pressure. Educational institutions are one of the biggest contributors to sleep deprivation because of the tight schedule they give their students. They are expected to complete assignments, get on with extra-curricular activities, and have to be accountable for all of this while also remaining competitive.

As a result, many students end up staying up too late completing assignments and don’t get the sleep required for proper function the next day. This leads to a vicious cycle, with increased deprivation that can lead to poor performance at school or college. As many as 50% of college students report daytime sleepiness, and 70% attain insufficient levels of sleep to function correctly.

If they do not get enough sleep, teenagers and college students are likely to find that their grades (and GPA) end up suffering, that their brains do not develop as well as they could, that their coordination is poor, and that they suffer from poor moods and even bouts of depression and rage. Getting enough sleep, on the other hand, can change all of this as well as boost memory, lower the risk of obesity, and even boost the immune system.

Teenagers should be getting a minimum of eight hours of sleep every night, but the preferred amount of time is ten. For college students, should get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night in order to function as well as possible in class and when completing assignments. Ideally, schools should change the times that classes start in order to help teenagers and college students perform better in class, as waking up later means waking up prepared for the day ahead.

Of course, there is also the case of poor sleep hygiene that can result in teenagers having sleep deprivation. The concept of good sleep hygiene includes avoiding caffeine before sleep, a quiet environment, and sticking carefully to a specific sleep schedule. Poor sleep hygiene practices that many teenagers carry out are as follows:

  • Drinking alcohol before sleep. This is because while it can help you to sleep faster, it disrupts the REM stage of sleep, which can cause a restless night and poor sleep quality overall.
  • Using technology before bed. The blue screen actually stops the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep cycle and circadian rhythm. This can lead to weight gain as well as insomnia.
  • Having too much during the day, or some before bed, can actually impact your sleep. Even consuming it six hours before bedtime can significantly reduce sleep quality, causing more instances of waking up in the night as well as general restlessness.

If anything, these examples show why it is so important for adolescents to get good sleep, and why they need to get enough. Of course, naps are a great way to boost your energy and combat sleep deprivation (as long as you do not have too many), but cognitive behavioral therapy can also be a great way to combat the issue.

Tomorrow, come back here for Chapter 3: The Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation and sign up for Alaska Sleep Clinic's blog.

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Topics: teens, sleep and children

Back-to-School Sleep Tips for Parents, Children, and Teens

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Aug 17, 2018 1:22:00 PM

A new school year kicks off Monday morning and that means your child's lazy, relaxed days of summer are about to be replaced with packed schedules full of class time, homework, and after school activities. More than likely your children have been staying up late and sleeping in through much of their summer-break, and getting them back into a healthy sleep routine may be challenging to say the least.

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Topics: school, Sleep Tips, sleep and children, children, teens

Sleep and Your Teen

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Apr 27, 2018 6:43:00 AM

It’s well known that some kind of switch seems to get thrown when our precious little ones become teens. Their sleeping patterns or lack there of become things of legend. The vampiric like late hours and the spaced out zombie behavior first thing in the morning is enough to drive any parent up the walls.

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Topics: moms, teens, sleep and children, school

Getting Your Kids Out of Bed

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Apr 25, 2018 5:41:00 AM

Let’s face it. Getting your kids out of bed in the morning can be difficult. While the sleep experts at the Alaska Sleep Clinic can’t come wake your kids up in the morning, we can give you a few tips that will help your kids sleep better and be well rested and happier in the morning.

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Topics: Sleep, teens, kids

Teens, sleep, and depression: The Link Parents Should Know

Posted by Julia Higginson on Apr 9, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Constant moodiness, sleeping in late, copping an attitude, and even being depressed are all seen as typical teenage behavior. But what if your teen just being a teen is really your teen reacting to the effects of sleep deprivation.

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Topics: teens, depression, suicide, Pediatrics, losing sleep, sleep habits, behavioral psychology

Are High School Start Times Bad for Your Teen's Sleep?

Posted by Kevin Phillips on Aug 18, 2014 3:38:00 PM

As a parent of a teenager, you've probably found yourself thinking "teenagers are just plain lazy!" They stay up much later that everyone in the household and are the hardest to wake in the morning. You may even have gotten a concerned phone call from one of their teachers saying they have trouble staying awake in their classes. And on weekends, if they don't have morning jobs or activities, they often sleep in until around 10 a.m. or later. So what is the deal with these teenagers? Are they really just lazy, or is there something more going on here? Alaska Sleep Clinic wants to address these questions and shed some light on whats really going on and what can/should be done for our teens.

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Topics: teens

What Is Considered Normal with Teens and Sleep

Posted by Jack Johnson on Nov 25, 2013 11:00:00 AM

Does your teenage son stay up late every night, night after night? Blame it on wild animals.

One theory on why teenagers are wired to stay awake later is that in another time, they were charged with protecting the village or camp at night from any dangerous creatures that might invade. A teen on guard might be more alert for that bear than his adult counterparts would be.

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Topics: teens

My Child Snores, is this Normal?

Posted by Jennifer Christensen on Oct 7, 2013 1:18:00 PM

About 10-12 percent of children snore regularly. Snoring is caused when the airflow through the mouth and nose is physically blocked in some way. The volume of the snoring is affected by how much air is passing through and how fast the throat tissue is vibrating.

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Topics: Pediatrics, teens

Later Start Time for Teens

Posted by Jennifer Christensen on Sep 4, 2013 2:00:00 PM

The average high schooler wakes up about 5:45 a.m. in order to make it to school on time, which turns most students into bobble heads on any given day trying to keep their eyes open. Teenagers need more sleep and they aren’t getting it.

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Topics: alaska sleep clinic, tired, teens

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