Patient EducationAug | 13 | 2019
Catching Zzz's: The Importance of Sleep
Why is sleep important?
Sleep helps your body rest and be ready for the next day. It helps your body and brain work properly to keep you healthy both physically and mentally.
How much sleep do I need?
Teens need about 8-10 hours of sleep every night, even on school nights.
What happens if I don't get enough sleep?
Without enough sleep, your body and brain don’t work as well as they should. Here is what happens if you don’t get enough sleep every night:
- You have a higher risk of gaining extra weight. Not getting enough sleep slows down your metabolism (how fast your body breaks down food for energy). This means you might gain extra weight. Lost sleep also makes your body release extra hormones that make you hungrier. This means you might eat more than you need.
- You don’t do well in school or can’t concentrate. Without enough sleep, you might feel tired or have trouble listening. You might also have trouble learning or solving problems.
- You don’t deal with stress well. Lost sleep can make you react badly to stress. It can also make you take longer to recover from stress.
- You feel grumpy, nervous or sad. Lost sleep can make you feel grouchier. If you have anxiety or depression, it can make those problems worse.
How can I get enough sleep?
- Put your phone, laptop or other devices away 1-2 hours before bedtime. This might be hard at first. Electronics have blue light, which makes it harder for your brain to release melatonin (sleep hormone) naturally. Electronics also distract you from going to bed on time.
- Take a warm bath or shower before bed. The warm water can help relax you and make it easier to fall asleep.
- Get moving! Exercise during the day can help you sleep better at night. Go to the gym, play your favorite sport or go for a walk. There are lots of fun ways to get your body moving.
- Stop drinking or eating anything with caffeine after lunch. Caffeine keeps your brain and body awake. It also takes a few hours for caffeine to leave your system.
- Try to go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day, even on weekends. Going to sleep and waking up around the same time helps keep your body on a schedule.
A note for families...
Most teens need about 8-10 hours of sleep every night, even on school nights. This can be hard for many reasons. Teens’ bodies are naturally wired to stay up later at night and sleep later in the morning. Teens might also have busy schedules that make it hard to get 8-10 hours of sleep.
Talk with your teen about sticking to a bedtime that helps them get 8-10 hours of sleep. Set rules that help them go to bed on time, such as putting smartphones and laptops away 1-2 hours before bedtime or not having caffeine after lunch.
Feeling sleepy can also make it hard to stay awake or focus while driving. If your teen drives or is learning to drive, make sure they get enough sleep.
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