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Why Are Teenagers So Tired?
Parents, educators, and kids often wonder why teenagers seem so tired all of the time. Tiredness is unfortunately an imprecise term. My first step is differentiating between fatigue and sleepiness, although they can travel together :. Sleepiness is a common problem in teenagers, and a serious one. The biggest risk to teenagers is from automobile accidents , and drowsy driving is similar to drunk driving in terms of risk.
All teenagers seem a bit sleepy compared to their younger selves. This is partially due to a biologic shift in their circadian, or body clock. This means that their natural physiologic sleep period is shifting later. That is to say, their bodies want to go to sleep later and get up later.
Unfortunately, in most school districts, this coincides with early school start times. Research has shown that later school start times correlate with greater student well-being and academic achievement; in fact, there is a national movement for later school start times, but it is hard to imagine any progress on this in the current political climate.
This last piece is critically important. The only things that make you less tired if you are driving is either taking a nap or having caffeine. Listening to the radio, opening the window, or Heaven forbid talking on the phone do not help. Some of this information came from this useful post on the Sleep Education blog. There are essentially four broadly defined causes of sleepiness. Many teenagers who have excessive sleepiness may have more than one. Both napping and sleeping in reduce the need for sleep at bedtime and result in insomnia.
There is a great resource on talking to teens about sleep and encouraging healthy sleep patterns at the National Sleep Foundation. Also, keep an eye on homework loads as excessive homework can also be a factor. Disordered sleep. A medical disorder disrupting sleep such as obstructive sleep apnea can certainly result in daytime sleepiness, especially in obese teenagers.
Body clock disorders. In some teenagers, this can become quite exaggerated, where their natural sleep schedule becomes incompatible with normal functioning, e. Expect a post on it soon. Disorders of increased sleep drive. These are disorders which result in increased sleep drive.
The most common disorder of increased sleep drive is narcolepsy , and it is still quite rare. Narcolepsy is rare but usually appears during the teenaged years. It is diagnosed with a sleep test called a multiple sleep latency test MSLT , where the child has an overnight sleep study and five nap opportunities the next day.
The amount of time it takes the child to fall asleep is averaged to see if it falls into normal ranges or is suggestive of narcolepsy. Excessive sleepiness is a serious problem in teenagers and is associated with depression, poor performance in school, and increased risk of car accidents.
If you suspect that your teen is sleepy, please discuss this with his or her pediatrician and review the importance of avoiding drowsy driving. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website.
These cookies do not store any personal information. My first step is differentiating between fatigue and sleepiness, although they can travel together : Fatigue is lack of energy. There are lots of potential causes of fatigue. Medical causes can include anemia, Lyme disease, low thyroid, other chronic medical issues, or medication side effects. Mental health issues such as excessive stress, depression or dysthymia can also cause significant fatigue.
There is also chronic fatigue syndrome which is associated with debilitating fatigue and is poorly understood. Sleepiness is an increased propensity to sleep.
Sleepy teens can be quite difficult to get up in the morning. They may nap. They commonly fall asleep in class, on the bus, or on short car trips around town. See below to know when to be concerned. How do you know if sleepiness is a significant issue in your teen? It is very difficult to get him out of bed in the morning , to the point where he is missing his morning class regularly. Grades are falling. Teachers have complained about her sleeping in class.
Napping after school is common or prolonged. Weekend catch-up sleep is excessive with usual wake times after noon or later. Auto Sleepy Photo credit: Wikipedia accidents are the leading cause of death in teenagers. What can you do if your teen seems excessively sleepy?
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Sleep Tips for Older Adults
As we age, we often experience normal changes in our sleeping patterns, such as becoming sleepy earlier, waking up earlier, or experiencing less deep sleep. Sleep is just as important to your physical and emotional health as it was when you were younger. Insufficient sleep can also lead to serious health problems, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, weight problems, and breast cancer in women. While sleep requirements vary from person to person, most healthy adults require 7.
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14 Best Bedtime Songs for Kids
Parents, educators, and kids often wonder why teenagers seem so tired all of the time. Tiredness is unfortunately an imprecise term. My first step is differentiating between fatigue and sleepiness, although they can travel together :. Sleepiness is a common problem in teenagers, and a serious one. The biggest risk to teenagers is from automobile accidents , and drowsy driving is similar to drunk driving in terms of risk. All teenagers seem a bit sleepy compared to their younger selves. This is partially due to a biologic shift in their circadian, or body clock. This means that their natural physiologic sleep period is shifting later.
The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability
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