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Circadian Rhythm in Teenagers

If you have teenagers living with you at home, you probably nag at them almost every night to go to bed early and shout at them early in the morning to get up. Believe it or not, teenagers do not sleep very late every night and have a hard time waking up every morning on purpose. There is a reason behind the abnormal sleeping habits of teenagers, known as the circadian rhythm during puberty. The system refers to the internal body clock of a person that regulates the body temperature, hormonal changes, sleep-wake cycles, and appetite. Body processes that are associated with the circadian system are known as circadian rhythms.

Circadian Rhythm during Puberty

Teenage Boy Sleeping

Before children reach pubertal stage, the circadian system or circadian rhythm normally let them fall asleep early at night, usually around 8 in the evening to 9. However, as they start to become adolescents and reach the puberty stage, there will be changes in the circadian rhythm. There will be delays in the time when they will fall asleep. Adolescents usually find it hard to fall asleep early and usually turn in at 11 in the evening or even later.

Circadian Rhythm Shift in Teenagers

The shift in the circadian rhythm in teenagers causes them to sleep later at night and find it hard to wake up early in the morning. In teenagers, the levels of hormone melatonin (sleep hormone) in the blood naturally increases at night, compared to other age groups. As melatonin levels rises, teenagers will feel alert at night, making it difficult to fall asleep early.

How Much Sleep Do Teenagers Need?

Teenagers should get at least 9 hours of sleep every night, and with a minimum of 8 hours and 30 minutes. According to The National Sleep Foundation, 25% of teenagers today only get 6 hours and 30 minutes of sleep every single night, which makes their sleep every night 3 hours lacking. This lack of sleep in teenagers will have negative effects on them including, school performances, proper growth and development, and overall health.

What Can Parents Do?

In order to help and support teenagers in getting enough hours of sleep every night, parents should show their support to their children. Parents may impose strict bedtime, limit internet access, lessen environmental stimuli in the bedroom, drink a glass of warm milk before bedtime, etc. Those things can help teenagers fall asleep early and battle circadian rhythm sleep disorder.