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How Lack of Sleep Impacts Your Teen's Mood and Behavior


A lack of sleep mightt impact your teen's mood and behavior in unusual ways, according to research. Teenagers who exhibit a depressive mood and display behavioral issues are more likely to have sleep problems. It seems, then, that a good mood really depends on a good night's sleep. 

Most teens need to have a least 8-10 hours of sleep a night, and those who don't might struggle to stay awake at school. As a result, they could find it difficult to concentrate, manifest behavioral problems, and even fail exams. Here's everything you wanted to know about the link between teen mood and sleep.

Teenage Behavior and Sleep

You might think that late nights are all part of the teenage experience, but a lack of sleep could cause more damage than you think. Here's the science: Research shows that sleep-deprived teens generate sleep-like brainwave patterns during the day, which might cause them to appear "spaced-out" in class. 

When teens are tired, they are more likely to make careless errors and have a difficult time focusing on exams and assignments. They might also exhibit a defiant attitude — one that causes disruption to teachers and classmates. Getting called to the Principal's office, therefore, might often occur after a restless night's sleep.

"Overtired kids work more slowly because it's hard for them to remember what the teacher just told them or what they just read," Pediatrician Dr. Cindy Gellner tells the University of Utah. "Their brains have a harder time focusing, even interfering with the formation and recall of long-term memories." 

There are other problems, too. Sleep deprived teenagers may have a more difficult time fighting off infections than their well rested peers. Feeling unwell can also impact their mood in the classroom. 

Sleep Deprivation in Teens is Becoming a Bigger Problem

So, why are there so many tired teens? Face it, there are far more distractions for teenagers nowadays than when you were younger. Social media, video games, Netflix —teenagers are constantly stimulated and this can result in irregular sleep patterns.

Teenagers might wonder why they suddenly feel anxious or depressed or stressed out. It turns out the problem might be down to how much sleep they get every night.  

Tips for Helping Teenagers Get More Sleep

You can encourage your teen to get more sleep by doing the following:

  • Create a sleep schedule, where you "turn off the lights" at an agreed time. Teens should be in bed no later than 11 p.m., especially if they have class the next morning. You might want to give your teen a small prize if he or she sticks to your sleep schedule.
  • Encourage your teen to exercise more. Not only does this release endorphins — the body's "feel-good" chemical — that improve wellbeing, but it can result in a better night's sleep at the end of the day.
  • Encourage your teen to turn off all electronics an hour before bed. The blue light emitted from computers, TV, and phone screens can disrupt sleep patterns
  • Try diffusing a relaxing essential oil like lavender. Our guide may help create a calm environment using essential oils.
  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon. Teens love their trips to the local coffee shop. Encourage them to make those visits early in the day to avoid having trouble falling asleep at night.

If sleep deprivation is affecting your teen's mood and behavior, it may be related to an imbalance or delay in their overall development. For over a decade, we’ve helped over 40,000 children improve the critical skills needed to create a brighter path for their future. Contact us online to learn more about how the Brain Balance Program can help. You can also view the research and results of the program on the website.

Disclaimer: The information presented on this web site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment of specific medical conditions. Discuss this information with your healthcare provider to determine what is right for you and your family.

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