And their smartphone may not be at fault.
Turning moody, grumpy, and a little too sassy for their own good is practically in the job description of becoming a teenager. But while many blindsided parents (‘where did my once-sweet, sunny, and happy-go-lucky kid disappear to?” may be quick to chalk up those mood swings to puberty-related hormonal shifts, body changes may not be the only reason for your teen’s new monosyllabic vocabulary of grunts and under-the-breath mutterings.
Another likely factor: too little sleep.
A 2010 study in Journal of Adolescent Health found that only 7.6 percent of high school students reported sufficient sleep (yiiiikes). All that sleep deprivation can obviously result in a crabby kid, but the consequences go beyond your adolescent’s mood: Studies show a link between insufficient sleep and excess weight, poor school performance, mental health issues, drug and alcohol use, and even bullying.
For their best health (and minimal mood swings), teenagers need around eight to 10 hours of sleep a night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. (Learn how much sleep each age group needs here.) “Not every adolescent needs the same amount of sleep,” says Preeti Parikh, MD, a pediatrician at The Mount Sinai Hospital and chief medical editor for HealthiNation. “It’s really important to see what your adolescent needs.”
If your teen is sleep deprived, you might notice the following symptoms, according to Dr. Parikh:
Change in mood
Tired all the time
Convinced you’ve got a sleep-deprived teen? Try these tips to help your teen sleep better.
If your teen consistently clocks eight to 10 hours of sleep and is still clinging desperately to the mattress every morning, take a look at the quality of her sleep. If he’s snoring or gasping for air at night, says Dr. Parikh, that could be a sign of sleep apnea. This condition causes you to stop breathing periodically during sleep, which repeatedly disrupts slumber and causes excessive daytime fatigue. Here are other common sleep disorders to know about.
“If a teen is not breathing properly, or has obstructive sleep apnea, he or she will be exhausted the next day and may even develop headaches,” says Alok Patel, MD, a pediatrician for New York Presbyterian-Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. “That’s something that needs to be medically managed, as opposed to [with] sleep hygiene.”
Other examples of medical conditions that could impact your teen’s sleep are mental health disorders like generalized anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Consider that 31.9 percent of U.S. teens (ages 13 to 18) have some type of anxiety disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, and that can take a huge hit on their sleep quality.
In other words, while sleep deprivation is common among teens, give your teen some benefit of the doubt and talk to the pediatrician if you’re concerned. “There are so many conditions that can affect somebody’s sleep,” says Dr. Patel, “and we don’t just categorize everything as, you know, a ‘stubborn teenager.’”
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So parents, across the board, worry
that their children don't sleep enough.
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They see their teens tired.
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They see that their teens are having
trouble waking up in the morning.
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They're getting reports that their
teens are falling asleep in school.
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Adolescents need around eight
to ten hours of sleep a night.
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And there's a range, because the National
Sleep Foundation has found that not every
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adolescent needs the same amount of sleep.
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So it's really important to see
what your adolescent needs.
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Some signs to look out for
if your teenagers are sleep deprived,
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are signs of irritability or
moodiness, depression or inattention,
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that they're having a hard time focusing.
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And most importantly, if you see
that they look tired all the time,
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they just look fatigued.
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Really take a look at their sleep,
and see if they're getting,
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not only a good amount,
take a look at the quality of sleep, and
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making sure that they're
not snoring at night.
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Or you're hearing them gasping
a little bit for air, because
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that could be signs of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea's a great example.
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If a teen is not breathing properly or
has obstructive sleep apnea, he or
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she will be exhausted the next day,
may even develop headaches.
00:01:10,602 --> 00:01:13,776
And that's something that needs to
be medically managed as opposed to
00:01:13,776 --> 00:01:14,690
00:01:14,690 --> 00:01:18,054
There's so many conditions that
can affect somebody's sleep, and
00:01:18,054 --> 00:01:21,138
we don't just categorize
everything as a stubborn teenager.
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Any anxiety disorder. Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Mental Health, 2017. (Accessed on March 13, 2018 at https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Related-Conditions/sleep-disorders.)
Eaton DK, McKnight-Eily LR, Lowry R, Perry GS, Presley-Cantrell L, Croft JB. Prevalence of insufficient, borderline, and optimal hours of sleep among high school students - United States, 2007. J Adolesc Health. 2010 Apr;46(4):399-401.
How many hours of sleep do you need? Washington, DC: National Sleep Foundation. (Accessed on March 13, 2018 at https://sleep.org/articles/how-many-hours-of-sleep-do-we-need/.)
Sleep disorders: the connection between sleep and mental health. Arlington, VA: National Alliance on Mental Health. (Accessed on March 13, 2018 at https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Related-Conditions/sleep-disorders.)
Wheaton AG, Chapman DP, Croft JB. School start times, sleep, behavioral, health, and academic outcomes: a review of the literature. J Sch Health. 2016 May;86(5):363-81.