You’re probably wondering why your child is sleeping so much lately. This is the first time that you can remember where they haven’t followed or tried to stay on a sleep schedule and routine.
When they were younger, you tried to keep them on a routine and regulated sleep schedule that was filled with feeding time, playtime, and naps. This schedule helped keep them on track and even helped to reduce or diminish meltdowns and temper tantrums.
But now your child isn’t so little anymore. In fact, your child is a full-grown teenager. You thought that they’d naturally fall into a good routine for their school and extracurricular activities, but their sleep schedule seems to be all over the place. They have a hard time waking up and getting out of bed in the morning. They may even want to nap during the day. At night, they’re staying up late texting, scrolling on social media, playing video games, or studying.
They’re sleeping a lot, and you’re a little concerned about them. Let’s learn more about why sleep is so important during the teenage years.
When a teenager doesn’t get enough sleep, the frontal lobe, which is the area of the brain that controls impulsive behavior, is negatively affected. This means that teens who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to engage in impulsive or high-risk behaviors. These are just a few of the different risk-taking behaviors teens who aren’t getting enough sleep may partake in:
- Drunk driving
- Not using a seatbelt
- Riding a bicycle without a helmet
- Speeding, riding a bicycle without a helmet
- Texting while driving
Sleeping is extremely important for a teen’s development, especially in their body and brain. When a teen isn’t getting enough sleep, it can impact the developmental process. Not getting a proper amount of sleep can also have a negative impact on the daily functioning of the systems of the body.
Hormone regulation, muscle recovery, tissue recovery, and the functioning of the immune system can take a big hit if sleep isn’t prioritized. Plus, not prioritizing sleep can actually cause long-term problems like cardiovascular issues or diabetes.
Physical development isn’t the only area that can be negatively impacted. Emotional development can also be negatively impacted by lack of sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, even for a day, you may feel exhausted, irritable, and moody. If sleeping troubles continue, it can lead to more serious mental health issues. Sleep deprivation can lead to anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation or attempts.
A teen’s ability to think and perform well in school can also be affected by a lack of sleep routine or schedule. Sleep is essential for rest and recovery of both the body and the brain. Lack of sleep can cause problems for a teen’s attention span, memory, and thinking process. If a teen is experiencing problems with their sleep schedule or routine, they may experience signs of drowsiness and a lack of concentration and attention. These changes can impact how they perform in classes, tests, and in school overall.
Sleep is extremely important during the teenage years. As a parent, you may be concerned that your teenager is sleeping too much or not sleeping enough. It’s a common area of concern as a parent, especially for a new parent who is dealing with trying to manage their first teenager.
There’s no need for you to worry. There are things that you can do on your own end to help your teenager with their sleep schedule and routine. If nothing seems to be helping or working, we’re here to provide additional support.
Reach out to us today to set up a consultation for teen counseling.
About the author(s)
Karen is the founder and Clinical Director of Cohesive Therapy NYC. She earned a Masters in Social Work from New York University and has extensive training in Hypnosis, Anxiety, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Brainspotting, and DGBI. She is a member of the Institute of Certified Anxiety Treatment Professionals, The Rome Foundation, the National Association of Social Workers, The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, and the American Social of Clinical Hypnosis.