How Much Sleep Do Teenagers Require? The Consequences of Sleep Deprivation

How Much Sleep Do Teenagers Require
How Much Sleep Do Teenagers Require

Even after what most adults would consider a full night’s sleep, many teenagers are tired and lethargic in the morning. Teenagers will frequently sleep late for nine to eleven hours if left undisturbed and without an alarm clock.

Despite the fact that most people prefer to sleep for long periods of time, recent research indicates that many are likely sleep deprived. How does this happen when they appear to enjoy sleeping so much?

Why do teenagers sleep so much when they are not bothered? Is it true that they need more sleep for growth and brain function? Or do they simply want to sleep more because they’re tired?

How much sleep do teenagers require, and how can we help them get more of it? Let’s see what happens!

How much sleep should a teenager get?

The average adolescent should get eight to ten hours of sleep per night. According to some studies, nine hours and fifteen minutes of sleep per night may be the ideal amount of sleep for teenagers. It enables them to perform at their peak without becoming fatigued.

Teenagers are still growing both mentally and physically. As a result, sleep is even more important for teenagers than it is for adults. Adolescents require more sleep than they did as children during the second stage of developmental cognitive maturation. [1]

They use it to support better brain development and advanced functioning while also facilitating the natural healthy growth that occurs during adolescence.

Despite the fact that sleep deprivation can be harmful to adolescent health, up to 85 percent still get less than eight hours of sleep per night.

Also Read – A Comprehensive Guide to Get More Deep Sleep

Why are teenagers sleep deprived?

According to recent studies, many teenagers are sleep-deprived, with as few as 15% getting the amount of sleep they require.

Statistics on adolescent sleep deprivation have prompted further investigation and comprehension of the subject. Teens are sleep deprived for a variety of reasons, including:

After puberty, the internal clock

As a child, you get used to going to bed earlier than adults and it feels natural. After puberty, this biologically changes with a two-hour shift in your internal clock.

The delay in the sleep phase is referred to as the sleep phase delay. It causes you to naturally fall asleep two hours later than usual and wake up two hours later as a result.

This places most teenagers’ natural bedtime around 11:00 p.m. Your circadian rhythm shifts, and your body no longer wants to sleep early. As a result, you sleep late. However, as you will see in the following point, this is rarely an option.

High school begins early.

It is common to have earlier start times in high school than you did in middle school. You most likely went through this as well when transitioning from elementary to middle school. For many teenagers, the transition is abrupt, and it takes time to adjust. [2]

Many high schools begin classes as early as 7:00 a.m. As a result, adolescents are getting up as early as 5:00 a.m. to get ready for school. This also implies that they should go to bed at 7:45 PM in order to get the recommended amount of sleep. But, let’s be honest, that’s never going to happen.

Extracurricular pursuits

All academic endeavours outside of the regular school day necessitate extra time and effort, which detracts from other activities, including going to bed at night.

Many teenagers find it difficult to balance extracurricular activities and homework. There are days when these adolescents simply cannot get enough sleep despite being heavily involved in their academic careers.

Social investigation

There are many changes when you first start high school. You are constantly exposed to new people and things. For many adolescents, high school is a time of social exploration, even if it is not always pleasant.

As you progress from childhood to young adulthood, you gain more social outlets, which often leads to more social obligations. It takes time for teenagers to want to hang out with their friends.

This time will be happily subtracted from the time allotted for sleep, and no regrets will be felt. Many adolescents suffer from sleep deprivation as a result of this.


Many states allow you to get your first job with a work permit when you’re fifteen years old. As a result, teenagers will be forced to work, which will take a significant amount of time.

When you combine this with their other academic and social obligations, it’s easy to overlook the importance of getting enough sleep. Some adolescents desire the independence and freedom that a paying job provides. It is their responsibility to balance their schedules accordingly.

It is not an option for other teenagers whose families are from the lower class. Instead, it is expected of the family to assist in making ends meet. They would suffer in other ways if they did not have additional income.

Assisting with siblings

Helping to care for siblings can also take time away from a teen’s sleep schedule. Childcare is prohibitively expensive. Furthermore, many families cannot afford to hire a babysitter or nanny.

A family may not receive one, particularly if there are other older siblings who can assist and be responsible. Adolescents are frequently expected to assist younger siblings with their homework. This diverts attention away from their own studies.

All of these factors can make a teen’s life very busy and hectic. Despite the importance of these factors, adolescents must also prioritise sleep. They require it in order to be healthy and functional at their best. Proper sleep is the foundation that allows teenagers to meet all of their responsibilities.

What are the negative consequences of sleep deprivation for teenagers?

sleep deprivation teen
sleep deprivation for teenagers

Sleep deprivation has the same negative consequences for teens and adults. When it comes to teenagers, the consequences can be far-reaching. In some cases, this is due to a lack of lifelong acquired skills such as good decision-making. Some of the negative side effects are as follows:

A bad and erratic mood

Teenagers who do not get enough sleep may become irritable, rude, aggressive, antisocial, hyperactive, or grumpy. It depends on the adolescent and the time you encounter them.

It is difficult to maintain a stable mood when you do not get enough sleep. This can result in mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and even suicidal ideation.

Inappropriate behaviour

As previously stated, adolescent decision-making skills are not always the best because they are inexperienced. Adolescents are more likely to make poor decisions and behave erratically when sleep deprivation is present.

Emotional health is suffering. Anger is more prevalent when a sleep-deprived person is tired, and adolescents are no exception.

Unhealthy food options

When a person is tired, it is easy to gravitate toward unhealthy foods that are readily available. Unless parents are cooking for their teen or making dietary decisions for them, they will usually choose fatty foods. Sleep deprivation can lead to future health problems such as excessive weight gain.

Acne flare-ups and irritation

Acne can worsen if you don’t get enough sleep. It can result in more pimples and breakouts than is typical for an adolescent. Your body does not have the energy it requires to heal health issues like this if you do not get enough sleep. It must prioritise and redirect energy toward other common brain functions such as cognition.

Reduced cognitive ability

You cannot maintain regular brain functioning capabilities if you do not get enough sleep. As a result, your memory, creativity, reaction time, and attention span are frequently harmed. [3]

This is especially true for teenagers, who require more rest than adults. They require more sleep at night in order to maintain mental health and be alert in class.

Driving while intoxicated

When it comes to sleep deprivation, driving abilities and cognitive abilities both suffer. It is extremely dangerous to drive while tired or drowsy. They should avoid going at all costs.

Teens may try to fight drowsiness. When a teenager is tired, however, operating a vehicle should not be considered.

Poor academic and professional performance

Sleep deprivation also has a negative impact on academic and occupational performance. Many sleep-deprived students find it difficult to stay awake in class.

There are times when they fall asleep at their desks. It is difficult to concentrate and perform at the same level that an adolescent or adult can when they have had enough sleep. This is especially important for teenagers because they lay the groundwork for their education. Their future success is rooted in and dependent on their education.

What are some helpful hints for ensuring teens get enough sleep?

teen sleeping

As previously stated, it is not always easy for teenagers to ensure adequate rest. However, there are steps that can be taken to help guide an adolescent in the right direction. Let’s take a closer look.

Establish a consistent sleep schedule.

Setting a consistent sleep schedule may be difficult, but it is something that should be seriously considered. It enables a teen to get the necessary amount of sleep.

The schedule should ensure that the adolescent goes to bed and wakes up at the same time every day. In the long run, this will help to ensure the most restful and healthy sleep. The most difficult aspect for parents will undoubtedly be convincing their adolescent to stick to the plan.

Take a nap in the late afternoon.

Short afternoon naps, most likely after school, can be rejuvenating. It can also help teenagers who are sleep deprived. Parents are advised to give their children a 15-25 minute nap in order to achieve the desired results and effectively use the time to reset.

Avoid sleeping in on weekends.

While this can be very appealing for teenagers who have no other responsibilities, it is not always as healthy as you might think. Catching up on sleep can be beneficial to an adolescent, but only to a point.

Sleeping late on Sunday, in particular, will make it more difficult for an adolescent to go to bed at the proper time that evening.

As a result, they will be tired on Monday morning when they go to school. It is often best for parents to try to stick to the schedule over the weekend in order to maintain any progress made.

Turn off all electronic devices.

A teen will be kept awake by the stimulating nature of television, video games, smartphones, and the internet. The bright lights from the screen will also make it difficult to sleep when the time comes.

To help an adolescent fall asleep more easily, it is recommended that all electronics be turned off about an hour before bedtime, or more if possible.

Do not eat or exercise before going to bed.

Exercising and eating both make your body work hard to recover or digest food, which can keep you awake. You may be able to sleep after that, but it is recommended that you wait at least two hours.

This is done to ensure that you have a restful and healthy deep sleep. Some experts recommend waiting up to four hours after a workout before napping.

Stay away from caffeine and other stimulants.

Caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol, and certain drugs are all stimulants that make it difficult to sleep. This is due to the fact that they are specifically designed to do the opposite, which is to keep you awake. Aside from caffeine, all other stimulants should be avoided by teenagers.

There are numerous factors that influence how our bodies process stimulants. However, it is recommended that adolescents who consume caffeine refrain from doing so after noon. This helps to ensure that their sleep patterns are not disrupted.

Push for later start times for high school students.

Some school districts have experimented with this option, and the results have been positive. Schools that started later and adapted to teens’ natural circadian rhythms saw an improvement in their students’ grades.

Other outcomes include reduced tardiness, improved overall attendance, fewer sick days, students in better moods than usual, fewer counsellor and nurse visits during the school day, and a significant reduction in adolescent car accidents.

This is not for everyone, but there is only so much that can be done on a case-by-case basis. As a result, this should be taken into account.

How much sleep do teenagers require?

To summarise, many factors influence adolescent sleep patterns, which can lead to sleep deprivation. Adolescents must prioritise sleep in their daily schedules.

Teenagers should get eight to ten hours of sleep each night to give themselves the best chance for success, growth, and brain functioning throughout their developmental years.