How much sleep do teenagers need?


Quick Answer

The average teenager needs 9 1/4 hours of sleep per night. The exact amount varies based on the teenager, as some only need 8 1/2 hours of sleep per night, while others need 9 1/2 hours.

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Full Answer

Puberty causes a change in a teenager's internal clock, shifting his natural sleeping and waking time by two hours. This makes it difficult for most teenagers to fall asleep before 11 P.M. As of 2014, however, high schools have start times as early as 7 A.M., which makes it difficult for teenagers to get the correct amount of sleep.

A lack of sleep impairs cognitive abilities, such as learning new information, listening and problem solving. It can also lead to negative behaviors, including aggression and depression. Sleep deprivation affects driving ability as much as alcohol intoxication.

A consistent sleep schedule is important to make sure a teenager gets enough sleep every night. He can also take a nap for 15 to 20 minutes during the day. He should avoid substances that interfere with falling asleep, such as caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Computer use and other activities that stimulate the brain should be avoided before bed time because they make it more difficult to fall asleep. He can sleep in on weekends, but sleeping in too much makes it more difficult to return to a sleep schedule during the week.

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