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Teens and Sleep


e-Writer in Residence

  • girl asleep in bed with alarm clock on table

Madeleine Banman | November 27, 2020

Many teens get up between 5:30-7:00am so they have enough time to get ready before school. This is problematic because of how long teens need to sleep (approximately 9 hours), and when we tend to get to sleep. Why do teens prefer staying up late? There are many reasons, and one is biological. Teenagers' brains don't produce melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel tired, until later at night than adults. Most teens don't feel tired until within an hour of midnight. We also have higher levels in the morning, which is why you might struggle to wake up early. The solution seems to be waking up later, but school interferes with this for most people. Some high schools have shifted their starting times to later and have found students do significantly better. But most schools still start very early, so here are some ways to work with your schedule and try to get some better sleep:

• Set a schedule to wake up and go to sleep, based on when you need to get up and how long you personally need to sleep, and follow it. Your body will get used to this.

• Start a routine. This can help you feel more relaxed and wind down before bed. Your routine might consist of choosing an outfit, going over your to-do list, praying or meditating, and reading or writing.

• Avoid foods that will bother you before bed. This might mean not having greasy food for supper, skipping seconds at dessert, or not going on late-night coffee runs. Try not to drink too much before bed too!

• Set an alarm for when you want to wake up, and for when you need to get ready for bed if you struggle with keeping track of time.

• Find a reason to wake up! This could be not wanting to be late for school, but when that isn't a potential issue, try making plans to do something else at a certain time. This could be going for a walk with a family member or talking to a friend!

Finally, check out this article on teens and sleep!