The Importance of a Good Sleep Pattern for Teens


Our teenage years are arguably the most important for development, we are discovering who we are, as well as our brains and bodies are noticeably changing. The human brain is not fully developed until the age of 25 (University of Rochester), this leaves a huge space for development in the teenage years. Sleep, along with proper diet and exercise, contribute to successful brain development. Unfortunately, teenagers tend to get 7 to 7 and a quarter hours of sleep when in reality they need around 9 hours of sleep (Nationwide Children’s).

Having jobs, along with school and the addition of homework can make it difficult to balance everyday life while getting a reliable amount of rest. Social and school obligations, including sports, homework, school events and simply hanging out with family or friends add to the every day schedule of a busy teen. 

A poor sleep schedule can lead to much more concerning health issues. Too little sleep can alter brain development and cause mood and behavioural struggles. After all, no one feels recharged or ready for the day after a restless or shortened sleep. 

Sleep can be directly connected to a person’s mental health, poor mental health can affect how you sleep and vice versa ( 

A drastic change in a teenager’s sleep pattern can also be a sign of mental illness, for example depression. 75% of individuals struggling with depression reported having troubles falling asleep and staying asleep (Johns Hopkins). Depression is the most common illness found in adolescents throughout the world, leaving many youth with sleep struggles. 

With the importance of rest in mind, here are some ways for teens to strengthen their sleep patterns. 

While no teen wants to hear or follow this tip, it can be extremely helpful in supporting a better night’s sleep. Limiting screen time and use at night in your bedroom can help your brain to unwind for the day (NHS). At least one hour of no screens can be enough to promote a better night sleep. 

Another easy thing to incorporate into your daily life is more exercise. This can not only improve your sleep, but also your general health and well being. Teenagers should be getting roughly one hour of exercise, this can even include fast walking. Doing this outdoors where you can be in the sun and get fresh air can double the benefits. 

Even though caffeine may have it’s benefits throughout the day, when it nears dinner time staying away from caffeine is crucial. Everyone knows coffee is used to keep you awake, same as with energy drinks, this means if you want a good night’s sleep you want to avoid caffeine as much as possible. 

Making sure you are going to bed with a clear mind and feeling calm is also ideal since your mind needs to be clear to be able to turn off for the night. You can try writing down any lingering ideas or feelings or simply reflect on the day until you can find some peace of mind.