Facts About Adolescent Sleep

- Teens and young adults need about 9 hours of sleep per night (compared to 7.5 to 8 for adults), but they get on average 6.9 hours of sleep per night.- According to Dr. Mary Carskadon, adolescent sleep expert at Brown University Medical School, “the same part of the brain that was working when the teens were learning their new skills continues to rehearse and practice when the students sleep. The brain consolidates and improves on what they have just learned…” - The difference between students who get C’s, D’s and F’s go to bed about 40 minutes later and get 25 minutes less sleep than those student’s who get A’s and B’s. - As they mature adolescents experience a phase shift during puberty. The teens who are starting to look like adults fall asleep two hours later than younger children or less mature looking teens. So when your teen tells you he or she can’t fall asleep until 10 or 11pm, they are telling the truth. - One possible reason for this is that the brains sensitivity to light changes during adolescence. Dr. Carskadon has research findings showing that those in middle or late puberty exposed to even dim light in the evening delayed melatonin secretion. This was not true for those in early stages of puberty. - The use of electronics (computer, TV, cell-phone (texting)) right before bed can make it difficult to fall asleep because looking at the screens on these devices is like shining a flashlight into your eyes. For the older teens who are particularly sensitive to light this is especially true. - According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsiness and fatigue cause more than 100,000 traffic accidents each year and young drivers are at the wheel in more than half of these crashes.