Some people just can’t get themselves to sleep even if they want to. Teen-agers are not exempted from getting sleep problems not only because they are usually overloaded with school projects which take most of their sleeping time. Even with all the hustle and bustle that comes with school, teenagers’ normally have enough adrenalin to last them till the wee hours of the morning.
Still, frequent sleep deprivation can cause problems even for the most healthy and vibrant youngster. Young people who experience sleep deficit have difficulty concentrating, studying, and working effectively. Long-term sleep deprivation can actually lead to emotional problems like depression.
According to recent studies, teenagers need 8 to more than 9 hours of sleep every night. However, during the stage of adolescence, the body’s internal biological clock, also known as circadian rhythm, is reset. The changes in the circadian rhythm makes them fall asleep later at night and wake up later in the morning.
Experts attribute this change in the circadian rhythm to the fact that the brain hormone called melatonin is produced later at night in teens. Melatonin is released earlier in the night among kids and adults. Also, the delay in the sleepwake cycle can worsen and possibly affect a person’s daily performance at school or at work. This is called the delayed sleep phase syndrome.
Aside from changes in their body clocks, young people may also lose sleep due to insomnia, or the inability to fall asleep or staying asleep, which is commonly caused by stress. But there are other factors which may cause insomnia. These include physical discomfort such as stuffy nose due to colds or headaches; emotional problems like family issues or relationship troubles; and uncomfortable sleeping conditions, such as lying in a room that is too hot, cold, or noisy. Trying to sleep in a cramped bed or using pillows that are too soft or too firm also contributes to sleep deprivation.
Insomnia is also one of the most common problems associated with sleep deprivation. This sleeping problem lasts for a long period of time without relief. Chronic insomnia can be caused by a number of different problems, including medical conditions, mental health problems, medication side effects, or substance abuse. In extreme cases, chronic insomnia may lead to psychophysiologic insomnia — a condition where a person’s mind and body are severely affected by sleep deprivation. Sufferers of chronic insomnia are advised to seek help the help of physicians, therapists, or counselors for their condition.
A nightmare is a common experience among teens which can disrupt sleep patterns. Certain medications can trigger nightmares. Drugs and alcohol can also cause sleep altering patterns. However, stress and anxiety can also trigger nightmares. If nightmares interfere with sleep, it’s time to talk to medical health professionals. Other conditions that can affect sleep in young people include Periodic Limb Disorder, Restless Legs Syndrome, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Reflux, Narcolepsy, and Sleepwalking.
When there’s a feeling of fatigue even after getting enough rest, a consultation with your doctor is advised. Excessive fatigue can be due to a number of health reasons, not just a sleep disorder. Doctors can do a physical examination and may review a person’s medical history when they suspect the presence of other conditions that interfere with sleep.
Some sleep disorders can be treated with over-the-counter sleeping pills while others can be addressed through special therapy meant to reset a person’s body clock. Teens are encouraged to make lifestyle changes that promote good sleeping habits such as avoiding playing video games or watching TV before sleeping, as well as drinking too much coffee at nighttime.