4 Reasons Why Your Teen Isn’t Getting Adequate Sleep

sleepy teenagers in classroom

It can’t be just a few of us who have teens that are perpetually tired from the time they wake up until about 10 p.m. when all of a sudden, their energy skyrockets. At this point, getting them to go to bed can be a struggle that most of us forfeit. Honestly, it may be the only time he or she gets important work done.

There are several reasons why your teen may be struggling to get enough sleep, including hormonal changes, technology, bruxism, and sleep apnea. Continue reading to learn how these factors inhibit your child’s ability to get the rest he or she so desperately needs.

1. Hormonal changes

Along with a slew of other, more obvious hormonal changes, teenagers also experience a shift in the production of melatonin. Until now, their circadian rhythm was probably tuned to yours. Now, he or she may stay up well after midnight and could probably sleep until noon the next day.

Unfortunately, school schedules aren’t aligned with theirs. Therefore, many teens are extremely difficult to get out of bed in the morning, and they go through most of their day feeling groggy and tired.

The best thing we can do for our teens is to encourage them to maintain a consistent sleep schedule (yes, even on the weekends) so their bodies can adjust to the sleep and wake up times. A melatonin supplement may also help get them to sleep earlier.

2. Technology

It seems like kids these days always have some type of screen in front of them. Whether it’s their phone, computer, TV, or all three, it’s important that parents encourage their teens to take a break from the screens, especially at night.

Along with distracting their minds, the blue light coming from the devices actually reduces the production of melatonin. Compounded with the hormonal change we just talked about, this becomes a serious issue.

Encourage your teenager to put away all screens at least an hour before their bedtime and read instead!

3. Bruxism

Also known as teeth grinding, bruxism is a common problem among teenagers. This could be because stress is one of the major contributors to teeth grinding, and with the immense pressure teens are under today, it just makes sense.

When a person grinds their teeth, they are putting up to 700 pounds of pressure on every square inch of the mouth. In addition to causing dental damage and headaches, bruxism can also affect the quality of sleep a person gets. He or she may wake up several times throughout the night without even realizing it.

In many cases, bruxism could be a symptom of a deeper problem—obstructive sleep apnea.

4. Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is often characterized by unique signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Loud snoring
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Gasping
  • Choking
  • Teeth grinding or clenching
  • Night sweats
  • Night terrors
  • Sleepwalking
  • Morning headaches
  • ADHD
  • Growth problems

For teens and all school-aged children, obstructive sleep apnea can have an immense effect on their academic performance in addition to every other area of their life.

If you’ve noticed your child has any of these symptoms, speak with a dental sleep specialist like Dr. Timothy Mickiewicz, or schedule a sleep study for him or her.

The sooner your child receives treatment, the better. It could be as simple as having your dentist create a mandibular advancement device to relieve the obstructive sleep apnea.

To learn more about how an oral appliance could help your teenager sleep better, contact our Sacramento office today at (916) 469-9178.

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