Sleep Deprivation

As part of the PSHE curriculum in school, all boys are taught about the effects a lack of sleep can have from a lack of concentration to aggressive behaviour and reduced performance in exams.

A minimum of 8 to 9 hours' good sleep on school nights is recommended for teens.
…which is easier said than done!

More than half of parents of teens with sleep troubles think electronics are to blame.

Once they hit puberty, adolescents need eight to 10 hours of sleep per night, but just over a third of British teens say they are getting at least eight hours on a typical school night.

And research shows that inadequate or disrupted sleep can have long-lasting health effects.


“Teen sleep deprivation is a growing public health issue because most young adults simply aren’t getting enough sleep,” says Dr Ellen Selkie , an adolescent medicine physician at Alder Hey. “We sometimes focus on sleep quality for young children but forget that adolescents’ brains and bodies are still developing, too.”

Poor sleep negatively affects teens’ ability to concentrate and perform well at school, Selkie notes. Research also links inadequate sleep to health problems ranging from obesity to anxiety and depression. Mood problems also can impair relationships.

For teen drivers, lack of quality sleep can be particularly dangerous, increasing their risk of car accidents.

So what’s a parent to do? Here's how to make sure your teen is getting enough sleep to stay healthy and do well at school.


Limit Screens

If possible, don't have a mobile, tablet, TV or computer in the bedroom at night, as the light from the screen interferes with sleep. 

Having screens in the bedroom also means your teen is more likely to stay up late interacting with friends on social media.

Encourage your teenager to have at least 30 minutes of screen-free time before going to sleep.



It's official: regular exercise helps you sleep more soundly, as well as improving your general health.

Teenagers should be aiming for at least 60 minutes' exercise every day, including aerobic activities such as fast walking and running.

Exercising out in daylight will help to encourage healthy sleep patterns, too.

Read more about how much exercise teenagers need.


Cut The Caffeine

Suggest that your teenager drinks less caffeine – found in drinks such as cola, tea and coffee – particularly in the 4 hours before bed.

Too much caffeine can stop them falling asleep and reduce the amount of deep sleep they have.


A Routine

Don't binge before bedtime: Let teenagers know that eating too much, or too little, close to bedtime can lead to an overfull or empty stomach. This can be a cause of discomfort during the night and may prevent sleep.

Have a good routine: Encourage your teenager to get into a regular bedtime routine. Doing the same things in the same order an hour or so before bed can help them drift off to sleep.

Create a sleep-friendly bedroom: Ensure your teenager has a good sleeping environment – ideally a room that is dark, cool, quiet and comfortable.  It might be worth investing in thicker curtains or a blackout blind to help block out early summer mornings and light evenings.




Talk Through Problems

Talk to your teenager about anything they're worried about. This will help them to put their problems into perspective and sleep better.

Read some advice on how to talk to your teenager.

You could also encourage them to jot down their worries or make a to-do list before they go to bed. This should mean they're less likely to lie awake worrying during the night.


Avoid Weekend Lie-ins

Encourage your teen to not sleep in for hours at weekends. Late nights and long lie-ins can disrupt your body clock and leave you with weekend "jet lag" on Monday morning.