How much sleep should my teen get every night?

Your teen should get about 8 ½ - 9 ½ hours of sleep every night, including on school nights.

My teen stays up late and sleeps late on weekends. Is this normal?

Yes. Teens have a different circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle, than adults. Teens’ bodies naturally make them stay awake later at night and sleep later in the morning. This is because your teen is going through puberty, or going through changes that make his/her body become an adult. Your teen might make up for lost sleep by sleeping late on weekends.

How does lost sleep affect my teen?

Lost sleep can affect your teen in a few ways, including:

  • Increased risk of obesity and weight gain
  • Lost sleep slows down the body’s ability to burn fat and release hormones that control hunger.
  • Decreased ability to deal with stress
  • Lost sleep can make your teen react more negatively to stress. It can also cause your teen to take longer to recover from stress.
  • Increased behavior or mental health problems
  • Lost sleep can make your teen grumpy, anxious or depressed. If your teen already has anxiety or depression, lost sleep can make those issues worse.

How can I help my teen get more sleep?

Here are some ways you can help your teen get more sleep:

    • Limit the use of electronic devices 1-2 hours before your teen’s bedtime. Electronic devices, like cell phones, tablets and computers, have blue light. Blue light can suppress (interrupt when the brain naturally releases) melatonin, a hormone that tells the body when to go to sleep and wake up. Putting away electronic devices can help keep your teen’s melatonin levels more regular so they sleep more.
    • Encourage your teen to get 8 ½ -9 ½ hours of sleep every night, including school nights. You can do this by talking with your teen about setting a regular bedtime your teen can follow on school nights.
    • Limit the amount of caffeine your teen consumes during the day. Caffeine can keep your teen energized well into the night, especially if he/she consumes caffeine later in the day. Try to limit the amount of caffeine your teen drinks after lunch so the caffeine leaves their system by bedtime.
    • Work with your teen’s school to have a later start time. Contact your teen’s school to encourage a later start time that is more in line with teens’ natural sleep cycles.
    • Address your teen’s mental health issues. Mental health issues, like anxiety and depression, can make it hard to sleep. Talk with your child’s doctor to help your teen with any mental health issues he/she might struggle with.
Rev. 8/2015