Teens & Sleep

If you’re tired of always feeling tired, sleeping in might sound like the solution. But it’s important to keep your sleep schedule consistent and not sleep in when you can avoid it. Maybe you’ve had trouble focusing in class recently. Or maybe you just can’t find the energy to get out of bed in the morning. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone!

Many teens have trouble staying awake or feeling like they’ve gotten enough sleep. It’s nothing to snooze at either – your sleep habits have a huge impact on your body and mind. If you feel like you must sleep in to try and feel rested, there’s still hope. You can get back on track and feeling awake again with our Teen Sleep Guide.

What Makes Me Want to Sleep In?

The feeling of sleepiness may be from either too little sleep, poor quality sleep or even possibly a disorder that results in you requiring more sleep than others. Unfortunately, insufficient sleep has become an epidemic and is now a leading cause for why you may need to press the snooze button.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 6-7 out of 10 middle school and high school students aren’t getting enough sleep.  Most middle school students require 9-11 hours of sleep and high school students require 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Students experience a lot of competing priorities, like schoolwork, sports, clubs, or work, that sometimes creep into the hours needed for sleep. There is also the need to have some downtime with friends or on social media, which can commonly occur at bedtime or even while lying in bed trying to wind down for sleep.

How Do I Know When I’ve Gotten Enough Sleep?

When we don’t get enough sleep at night, we suffer the consequence the next day. We can feel sleepy or doze off during classes and other times you are sitting around not doing anything. However, the symptoms don’t stop there. Inattention, irritability and moodiness, poor judgement, increased hunger, risk taking behavior, reduced reaction times and impaired sports performance can all be related to insufficient sleep.

When getting good quality, sufficient hours of sleep we frequently start our days off on the right foot feeling well rested and energized.

Why Is Setting a Sleep Schedule So Important?

Setting a schedule that you can stick to on most nights of the week is critical. It is recommended to try and have a bedtime and wake time within an hour of your usual schedule. For instance, if during the school week you need to be in bed by 10 pm and up 7 am, then on a weekend the latest bedtime should be 11 pm. And you should wake up by 8 am. Larger deviations in bedtimes and waking times can lead to difficulties falling asleep and waking up for the school week. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule and getting the right number of hours of good quality sleep is critical to optimal school and sports performance. It also helps you feel better all around.

What Can I Do to Set a Regular Sleep Schedule?

Not certain how regular your sleep schedule is? Consider keeping track using a sleep diary. If you have an app or a wearable device that helps with keeping track of your sleep, use that too. Once you know your typical schedule, you can then determine what you need to change in order to improve your nighttime sleep. Here are some things to consider:

  • Are you giving yourself too little time in bed to get the right hours of sleep?
  • Are you taking longer than desired to fall asleep (More than 30 minutes)?
  • Maybe you are waking earlier than desired?

It is important to develop a regular bedtime routine to help you wind down for sleep. Remember that your bed is for sleeping (not for schoolwork, TikTok, or worrying about finals).

If you feel too wired to sleep, get out of bed and do something to help you wind down and return to bed when you feel sleepy. Breaking bad bedtime habits an feel hard and even take several weeks to change but stick with it. If you find you are struggling, tell your parent or guardian. They can ask your doctor if you should see a sleep specialist to help you.