Common Sleep Problems in Teens


By BHIS   clockJune 10, 2020   

Children in their teens are the most affected by various factors like peer pressure, body image, dealing with changes, and more. They go through a whole lot of changes and this also disturbs their sleep cycle. Most teens are known to be rebels without a cause. They deify everything including sleep. They enjoy late nights either partying or just staying at home binge-watching. Instead of losing your hair and fighting with them parents and counsellors should sit them down and talk about the importance of sleep and the ill effects of not resting enough. Teens are smart they will eventually turn around.

As per various researches on an average, teens need about 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 hours of sleep each night. During the teenage years, the body’s circadian rhythm (body’s internal biological clock) is reset. When this happens, melatonin (the chemical) that sends signals to the brain that it’s time to sleep is released a few hours later than in young children.

Hence during the initial phase of this change teenagers find it hard to fall asleep. At times there may not be a drastic change in the sleep-wake cycle. However, if the delay in the sleep-wake cycle is severe then it affects a person’s daily activities. In those cases, it’s called delayed sleep phase syndrome or “night owl” syndrome.

In this article we shall list down common sleep problems in teens and briefly share what they can do to overcome them:

1. Nightmares: Teenagers who are stressed, anxious, or overthink find it difficult to sleep and this may also trigger bad dreams or nightmares as they call it. Frequent nightmares disrupt the sleep pattern and this is not good in the long run. Teenagers should get into the habit of listening to meditative music to calm themselves while falling asleep.

2. PLMD and RLS: some teenagers suffer from periodic limb movement disorder or restless legs syndrome. What simply happens is that their sleep is disturbed with any kind of movement. Once sleep is disrupted teenagers find it difficult to fall asleep. This may lead to them waking up tired and irritable

3. Acid Reflux: As a teenager’s body goes through changes, all the chemical imbalance may lead to acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). What basically happens is that stomach acid moves backward up into the esophagus, producing the uncomfortable, burning sensation known as heartburn. This can cause disturbed sleep, thereby causing discomfort the following morning. It is important to maintain a balanced healthy diet, eat small portions at regular short intervals and avoid eating at odd hours to avoid reflux related complications.

4. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): A person with obstructive sleep apnea temporarily stops breathing during sleep because the airway becomes narrowed or blocked. This is may cause people to snore or wake up abruptly.

If your teen experiences prolonged tiredness through the day visit your doctor. The tiredness may be due to other reasons too. After a complete physical check-up and looking at your child’s medical history, your doctor may prescribe medicines. There may be a few sleep disorders that would need alternative therapy like meditation or yoga to reset your teen’s body cycle.

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