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Can Teens Have Insomnia

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Among Teens Sleep Deprivation An Epidemic

Common Sleep Disorders in Kids & Teens | Insomnia

Sleep deprivation increases the likelihood teens will suffer myriad negative consequences, including an inability to concentrate, poor grades, drowsy-driving incidents, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide and even suicide attempts.

The most recent national poll shows that more than 87 percent of U.S. high school students get far less than the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep each night.Christopher Silas Neal

Carolyn Walworth, 17, often reaches a breaking point around 11 p.m., when she collapses in tears. For 10 minutes or so, she just sits at her desk and cries, overwhelmed by unrelenting school demands. She is desperately tired and longs for sleep. But she knows she must move through it, because more assignments in physics, calculus or French await her. She finally crawls into bed around midnight or 12:30 a.m.

The next morning, she fights to stay awake in her first-period U.S. history class, which begins at 8:15. She is unable to focus on whats being taught, and her mind drifts. You feel tired and exhausted, but you think you just need to get through the day so you can go home and sleep, said the Palo Alto, California, teen. But that night, she will have to try to catch up on what she missed in class. And the cycle begins again.

Its an insane system. The whole essence of learning is lost, she said.

Understanding Insomnia In The Context Of Normal Development

The manifestation of insomnia in adolescence needs to be considered against the backdrop of the dramatic changes that occur in sleep architecture, duration, and timing as a result of changes in circadian and homeostatic processes in association with reorganization of the central nervous system combined with social and environmental pressures on sleep .

Sleep architecture changes across adolescence, with a decrease in N3 sleep associated with a steep decline in delta power ), hypothesized to reflect the process of reorganization in the adolescent brain . Limited evidence suggests that the buildup of homeostatic sleep pressure during wakefulness is slower in more mature adolescents, contributing to their delayed bedtime .

Self Control And Sleep

Going without sleep can affect your ability to control your emotions and impulses. Dr. Ryan C. Meldrum, an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Florida International University, points to a link between sleep duration and aggression or impulse control. Theres a theory that views self-control not as a stable personality trait, but as something that is subject to the strains and stressors of the environment that people have to navigate on a daily basis, Dr. Meldrum explains. So imagine that self-control is like a muscleif we exert a lot of energy and expend a lot of effort, we need rest and recuperation in order to restore ones ability to self-regulate.

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The Consequences Of Sleep Deprivation For Teens

Sleep deprivation during adolescence can cause problems with mood, emotion, and academic performance. Teens who dont sleep well are more likely to have problems with their peers, and chronic sleep loss can lead to a weakened immune system, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

Sleep loss and screens are both risk factors for obesity as well, especially when screen time takes the place of exercise. Sleep loss also leads to increased tiredness during the day, which can be very dangerous for young drivers.

Treatment For Severe Cases Of Insomnia

Sleep Paralysis: My Experience With The Scariest Sleep Disorder

For severe cases you should seek help through your doctor, they may refer you to an Accredited Sleep Center run by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

The results page will show you the sleep center, the sleep disorder that they test for or treat, their address and contact information, and the distance from the location that you input.

Alternatively, the AASM has now set up a dedicated telemedicine platform for accredited sleep centers that may be able to help you online.

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How Does Insomnia Affect Teens

Although missing an occasional nights sleep rarely has serious consequences, chronic insomnia can have a major impact on both physical and mental health in teenagers. Physically, researchers have found that poor sleep quality and insufficient sleep increase teens risk for diabetes, obesity and even injuries.

Psychologically, even sleep-deprived kids who do not meet any clinical definitions for mental health problems are likely to suffer from behavior problems and reduced performance in school. They are also at risk for anxiety, symptoms of depression and feelings of hopelessness. They are more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors like drinking and driving, not using seatbelts, and risky sexual practices.

Although people of all ages can experience negative cognitive impacts from a chronic lack of sleep, adolescents are at higher risk due to the profound developmental changes that occur during this time. They may have trouble with learning and retaining new information, performing well on tests and assignments, and regulating their emotions throughout the day. They also tend to be less motivated.

Although it is not yet clear if teens react in the same way, younger children who are sleep deprived tend to show a strong performance gap when compared to their peers. Losing just one hour of sleep per night can cause a child to perform in school similarly to a fully rested child two grades below.

What Can Help My Teen Sleep

Talk to your teen about setting regular bedtimes and wake-up times. Decide when your teen needs to get up for school in the morning and count back at least 8 hours from there.

Encourage your teen to wake up and go to bed at about the same time each day. On weekends, teens should try to stick to their sleep schedule as close as they can. Going to bed much later and sleeping in on weekends can make it harder to sleep well during the week.

Keeping these tips in mind can help your teen get a good nights sleep:

  • Keep the bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.
  • Dont keep a TV or video game system in the bedroom.
  • About an hour before bedtime, have your teen put away homework and turn off TV, computers, and handheld devices. Consider turning off cellphones or charging them outside the room.
  • Encourage your teen to do something relaxing, like taking a warm bath or reading before going to sleep.
  • Help your teen limit caffeine , especially in the late afternoon and evening.
  • Do not give your teen sleeping pills or other sleep aids unless your doctor says it’s OK.
  • Teens who are very tired during the day can take short naps in the early afternoon. Longer or later naps make it harder to fall asleep at night. Encourage regular exercise, which can help teens sleep better.

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The Effect Of Sleep Deprivation On Adolescents Health And Well

The average person can survive more than three weeks without food, but only around ten days without sleep. Adolescents tend to participate in many activities such as exams, homework, and sports, which do not allow for a full nights sleep. These activities disrupt students circadian sleep cycle, which is a series of mental, physical, and behavioral changes that follow a daily pattern. The word circadian means to occur in a twenty-four hour cycle. A disruption of ones circadian sleep cycle can lead to exhaustion.

Recently, sleep deprivation has become more and more prevalent in the adolescent years, which is generally the period during and after puberty, from ages thirteen to eighteen. The recommended amount of sleep for teenagers is eight to ten hours per night in order for them to function best. A 2007 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 68.9 percent of respondents reported insufficient sleep on a school night.

So Perhaps Persistent Issues With Sleep Need To Be Taken More Seriously In Teenagers And Adults

Terrifying genetic disease causes entire families to never sleep again | 60 Minutes Australia

Foster is convinced that from a biological perspective, the best way to disentangle the web of correlation and causation is by studying the impact that disruption of circadian rhythms could be having on the brain. He says we need to look at the complex interactions between multiple genes, brain regions and neurotransmitters to understand what’s happening.

So perhaps persistent issues with sleep need to be taken more seriously in teenagers and adults. Sleep interventions are straightforward, and in some cases successful. What is already clear, from a meta-analysis of 49 studies, is that tackling poor sleep among those with insomnia, who are already experiencing symptoms of depression, not only helps them sleep better but also reduces the depression.

Insomnia and mental health issues can exacerbate each other

The large Oasis trial led by Daniel Freeman across 26 universities in the UK found that digital cognitive behavioural therapy for students with insomnia, not only helped them to sleep, but reduced the occurrence of hallucinations and paranoia, symptoms of psychosis.

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Use Of Electronic Devices

Electronic devices like cell phones and tablets are ubiquitous among teens, and research, such as the 2014 Sleep in America Poll, finds that 89% or more of teens keep at least one device in their bedroom at night.

Screen time late into the evening can contribute to sleeping problems. Using these devices can keep teens brains wired, and incoming notifications can cause disrupted and fragmented sleep. Evidence also points to suppressed melatonin production from exposure to the light from cell phones.

Why Is Sleep Important For Teens

All teenagers tend to have different sleep patterns compared with adults. Their sleep patterns shift toward later times for both getting to sleep and waking up each morning. Teens usually need between 8 and 10 hours of sleep each night to avoid becoming tired, irritable and unable to function normally with their daily activities.

The reason for an increased sleep need is probably at least in part due to the hormonal changes that occur during the teenage years and how these affect the body clock. There is no evidence that there is any difference between boys and girls in terms of the amount of sleep that is needed.

Insufficient sleep in teens can cause many difficulties during the daytime, including poor behaviour, poor concentration and poor academic performance. Poor concentration and tiredness increase the risk of accidents, one of the reasons older teens are at a much higher risk of an accident when driving.

Do teenagers really need more sleep?

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Symptoms Of Sleep Deprivation In Teens

Insomnia signs and symptoms in teens are more common than you might think. But the disturbing part of insomnia is its recognized link to depression. The National Sleep Foundation polled teenagers on sleep and discovered that nearly half of those teens polled measured in ranges considered depressive and most reported that they experienced stress on a regular basis.*

Depression is a pernicious disease of epidemic proportions in America and can be a huge factor in insomnia.

Teen symptoms of insomnia and sleep deprivation:

  • Complain about inability to go to sleep, stay asleep or waking too early in the morning
  • Irritability
  • Binge eating or loss of appetite
  • Lack of concentration
  • Tardiness or absenteeism at school and/or on a job

Teenagers And Sleep: How Much Sleep Is Enough

Greater Screen Time Associated with Depression and Insomnia in Teens

Teens love to label themselves night owls, trading stories ofall-nighters and sleeping away an entire Saturday. Though teenagers andtheir sleep habits may be maddening to parents, theyre partly in responseto physical changes that occur during puberty. Teens experience a naturalshift in circadian rhythm, says Johns Hopkins sleep expertLaura Sterni, M.D.This makes it more difficult for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m. Add inearly school start times and an increase in homework, extracurricularactivities and sometimes a part-time job, and sleep deprivation in teensbecomes common. However, says Sterni, its important that parents helpteens do the best they can, because this age group needs more sleep than wemight realize.

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Why Teens Need More Sleep Than Younger Kids

So how much sleep is enough? According to Johns Hopkins pediatricianMichael Crocetti, M.D., M.P.H., teens need 9 to 9½ hours of sleep per nightthats an hour or so more than they needed at age 10. Why? Teenagers are going througha second developmental stage of cognitive maturation, explains Crocetti.Additional sleep supports their developing brain, as well as physicalgrowth spurts. It also helps protect them from serious consequences likedepression or drug use .

Does Screen Time Cause Insomnia In Teenagers

Screen time is linked to a host of insomnia symptoms in teenagers. By delaying the release of melatonin, screen time pushes back bedtime and leads to less restful sleep. As the majority of teens have strict school start times, a later bedtime usually results in less sleep overall and increased next-day sleepiness. Over time, consistently late weekday bedtimes and catch-up sleep on the weekend disrupt the circadian rhythm.

Scientists believe that children and adolescents may be extra-sensitive to the effects of blue light because their eyes let more light in. For this reason, limiting evening screen time in children and adolescents is especially important to prevent sleep problems.

In addition to suppressing melatonin levels, screen time for teens may directly eat into sleep time. Engaging in exciting or violent content before bedtime, or using social media, can boost alertness and impede sleepiness. Alertness and melatonin levels can also be affected by passive technology, such as a television running in the background or a smartphone that emits sounds, vibrations, and light.

That said, the prevailing opinion is that screen time has a greater effect on insomnia than vice-versa. Studies show that 57% of teens who use technology in the bedroom suffer from sleep problems, and teens consistently report worse sleep when they have a television or small screen, such as a smartphone, in the bedroom.

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Teenage Sleep Problems And How To Help Them Get Back On Track

When we see adolescents for counselling, friendship or family issues, study skills or a range of other problems, it is unsurprising that many of them also report some kind of sleep difficulty.

Sleep problems often affect kids ability to concentrate in the classroom, to get up and get moving in the morning and to regulate moods.

It can sometimes be hard to understand where this is coming from and why so many teenagers have trouble controlling their sleep patterns. This post aims to shed some light on the subject for both parents and teenagers.

Some facts about sleep:

  • Approximately 9% of Australians have a diagnosed sleep disorder
  • Sleep disorders are almost ALWAYS associated with either Anxiety or Depression
  • For 12 to 18 year olds, the recommended amount of sleep is 9.25 hours a night! . This recommendation is based on analyses from a large group of studies. It takes into account how much sleep is needed for a person to achieve optimal performance in a range of areas including attention, reaction-time, and cognitive tests.
  • Social Consequences And Results Of Delayed School Start Times

    Can’t sleep at night ? Sleeping disorders | Insomnia | Teenagers sleeping problem – Insomnia

    As a result of their desired sleep preferences, teens who stay up late and sleep in often struggle with missing morning classes and accumulating school absences. If they go to bed earlier, they will lie there awake and struggle to get to sleep. It can be nearly impossible to drag them out of bed in the morning.

    When these teens do attend school, they may fall asleep during early classes or have other behavioral problems. Poor concentration may lead to failing grades. By getting fewer hours of sleep at night, sleep deprivation can become a significant problem. In younger children, sleep problems may manifest as inattention and hyperactivity.

    There are some effective treatment options for delayed sleep phase syndrome. In particular, it is highly important for these teens to get exposed to morning sunlight upon awakening. Ideally, these teenagers would get 15 to 30 minutes of sunlight exposure within 15 minutes of waking. This helps to make it easier to wake and also easier to fall asleep a little earlier. In some cases, a light box may need to be substituted when sunrise does not occur early enough, especially in the winter months.

    In addition, school districts that have delayed their start times have noticed positive effects. Students are shown to have improved attendance and are able to perform better. Extending this practice to other schools may help our teenagers to do their best by compensating for changes in their sleep patterns.

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    How Can Teens Get Better Sleep

    Teens who are having sleep problems should start by talking with their doctor about how much sleep they are getting and how it impacts their daily life. Their pediatrician can work to identify any underlying causes and craft the most appropriate and tailored treatment.

    Depending on the cause of sleep problems, medications may be considered however, in most cases, treatment with medications isnt necessary for teens to get better sleep.

    A beneficial step is for teens to review and improve their sleep hygiene, which includes their sleep environment and habits. Some healthy sleep tips that can help in this process include:

    • Budgeting eight hours of sleep into your daily schedule and keeping that same schedule on both weekdays and weekends.
    • Creating a consistent pre-bed routine to help with relaxation and falling asleep fast.
    • Avoiding caffeine and energy drinks, especially in the afternoon and evening.
    • Putting away electronic devices for at least a half-hour before bed and keeping them on silent mode to avoid checking them during the night.
    • Setting up your bed with a supportive bed thats the best mattress for you. And dont forget a good pillow.
    • Keeping your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.

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