From A to Zzz
Many teens don’t get the sleep they need. Here’s how to catch up on your shut-eye.
Teens are supposed to sleep for 9 hours and 15 minutes each night. But did you know that half of all teens in the U.S. get only seven or fewer hours of sleep per night?
Why aren’t teens getting the sleep they need? One reason is biological. In the teen years, the body’s circadian rhythm, or daily clock, shifts so that you naturally fall asleep later in the evening than when you were younger. You also wake up later than you did when you were a kid. As a result, getting up for a school day that starts at 8 a.m. may be hard.
Another reason has to do with the teenage lifestyle. Whether it’s a heavy school workload, a busy schedule filled with activities, chores, and a job, or an active social life that includes late-night texting and visits to Facebook, most teens sacrifice sleep so they can do other things.
But sleep deprivation can cause lots of problems, ranging from the annoying, like falling asleep in class, to the dangerous, like nodding off while driving. Drowsiness behind the wheel is responsible for 100,000 car accidents each year. Lack of sleep can also make you irritable, contribute to acne, and even lead to weight gain, because a sleepy body can feel hungry when it is actually full.