So what’s going on with my teen and sleep?
Older children and teens commonly have sleep disorders that are undiagnosed and untreated. Sleep disturbances may occur in up to 30% of children and “body clock” delays may occur in more than 10% of teens. Sleep disorders range from inadequate amount of sleep and poor quality sleep to insomnia, sleepwalking, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy.
Teenagers and older children may suffer from a simple lack of sleep. Teens need between 8½ — 9¼ hours of sleep per night; children between age five and twelve require between 10 – 11 hours of nightly sleep. By comparison, adults need 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night. A household with adults teens and small children is automatically set to have conflicting sleep needs by the individual members of the family.
Teens, at puberty, begin to experience a delay in the phases of their body clocks. Because of this delay, they fall asleep later in the evening, and in turn, find it more difficult to wake up in time for school. Research shows that this delay is related to hormonal changes that are age related.
Sleep disorders for teenagers and older children can result in inability to get up on time, daytime moodiness, irritability, lack of focus and marked behavioral and learning challenges. A particular concern for teens is drowsy driving or impaired function behind the wheel of a vehicle. Some sleep disorders cause serious threats to a teenager’s health, including cardiovascular and metabolic issues.
Sleep disorders arise from a variety of sources. Some of genetic predispositions, some are transitional and will go away with time, some of exacerbated by diet and environment, for example, over consumption of caffeine or excessive use of cell phones or gaming electronics. Testing may include a sleep study and treatment may be behavioral techniques, coaching for improved sleep hygiene, a customized C-PAP device to keep oxygen flowing during sleep or other strategies for improving quality and quantity of sleep.
If you teenager is experiencing persistent or extreme sleep difficulties, it’s time to see a medical professional. The sleep specialists at Clayton Sleep Institute can provide the testing, diagnosis and plan of treatment your teen or older child may need—tailored specifically to him or her. Please give us a call at 314-645-5855 to schedule a sleep consultation for you and your teen.