Making Sleep Count
Staying up late? Having trouble getting up in the morning? Adolescents have a different internal clock than adults, which means that they don’t feel sleepy until later and end up staying up late and sleeping in. So, when your alarm goes off at 7 am on a school day, it can ‘feel’ like the middle of the night because you didn’t fall asleep until late. Ugh. Unfortunately, the school day isn’t shifting to start later (though it should!), so you need to figure out how to get enough sleep.
Is sleep really THAT important?
Yes, getting enough sleep improves your mood and makes it easier to manage stress and anxiety. A good night’s sleep enhances memory and concentration, which helps you perform better at work or school.
FACT: Youth need about 9-9.5 hours of sleep
Not getting enough sleep leads to:
- Being cranky and irritable, and not much fun to be around.
- Low energy and generally feeling crappy.
- A fuzzy brain, which means you’ll have trouble paying attention and remembering things.
- Trouble dealing with stress and solving problems.
FACT: When you’re sleep deprived, you are as impaired as a drunk driver with a blood alcohol level of .08%.
It’s normal to have trouble sleeping once in a while, but sometimes it goes on for too long and starts interfering with your ability to function. Worrying about not sleeping, however, only makes it less likely that you will sleep. Also, many of the things we do to compensate for not getting enough sleep (like sleeping in, taking long naps, or drinking coffee or energy drinks to wake-up) can actually interfere with sleep in the long-term.
Some sleep problems can be associate with various medical conditions or medications. So, make sure to talk to your doctor about any persistent sleep issues.