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How much sleep does a teenager need?

Sleep can be a highly contentious issue between parents and teenagers. Experienced teen parents will tell you that in many ways, teens make up for lack of sleep like babies when they hit their teenage years.

But far from being lazy, teenagers actually do require a lot of sleep, with a guideline of 8-10 hours per night being the recommended amount for teens.

How Much Sleep Does The Average Teenager Get?

The reason teens need to sleep more is due to them entering their second developmental stage of cognitive maturation. We spend a lot of time sleeping in our lives, and for the most part, people can easily forget that our bodies go through a lot when we sleep. As teenagers’ bodies are going through arguably their most developmental stage mentally and physically after their baby years, the sleep they need is just as if not more important.

On average most teenagers will find they are not getting enough sleep, especially on school nights, for various reasons. 

Why Do Teenagers Need So Much Sleep?

How much sleep do teenagers need to function? The effects of sleep deprivation are just as real for teenagers as they are for adults. Making sure you know how much sleep the average teenager gets can help you to help them get good quality sleep each sleep to ensure they are mentally and physically healthy. Sleep can help teens with the following;

  • Cognitive function
  • Perform well at school
  • Build healthy habits
  • Sustain a healthy lifestyle
  • Eat a nutritionally balanced diet
  • Have more energy
  • Improved memory
  • Growth
  • Developmental changes
  • Healthier skin
  • Regulate moods

Do Teenagers Need Sleep to Learn?

In a nutshell, yes. During the teenage years, you learn a lot and studying for A-Levels and GCSEs can be mentally draining. Add to this a poor sleep routine, and chances are teens will start to struggle quickly.

Studies have shown that as children progress from childhood to their teenage years, the amount of sleep they need increases, with test subjects unable to rise as spontaneously as younger participants despite having the same amount of sleep.

When applied to learning environments, it is noted that teenagers needing more sleep were less focused, becoming drowsy earlier in the day, were routinely late for school and unable to recall facts or concentrate on what they are learning. On average teenagers get approximately 7-7.5 hours of sleep per night which falls below the recommended 8-10 hours. Over the course of a week, this can equate to the loss of between 1-2 nights sleep per week.

Sleep benefits the brain in many ways and promotes attention, memory, and analytical thought. If sleeping patterns are disturbed or how much sleep a teenager gets falls below their needs, then it stands to reason that this will directly impact memory and concentration, leading to lower grades and an inability to focus and engage properly in the classroom.

Exactly how much sleep should a teenager get can be different, however, a good rule is to aim for a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per night to ensure they are refreshed and alert to help them be able to concentrate and focus on what they need to be doing and to allow them the best chance of success as they work towards their future.

In conclusion, teenagers are far from lazy. Allowing your teen the chance to sleep in later, catch an early night or hit the snooze button is far from damaging for their health and, in reality, can be more beneficial in all areas of their lives.