Sleep is vital for teenagers

Sleep is one of the most important things humans need to thrive. But it is easy to underestimate the importance of sleep.  There can be lots of benefits to making a few changes to improve the length and quality of your sleep:

  • Our mental health improves with better sleep
  • Our skin and hair has a healthier appearance 
  • We concentrate and learn better
  • We can perform better at sports
  • Enough quality sleep can help us recover from injury and illness faster.

Lack of sleep can affect your self-control and judgement, reduce your ability to concentrate and learn and may even lead to health impacts such as poor skin or weight gain due to hormone changes.

Making a few changes can be easier than we think.  Check out the information below to find out more.​​​​​​​

Sleep is made up of 2 main types of sleep (REM and non-REM), which go in cycles whilst you sleep and help to keep you physically and emotionally well and healthy.

• REM is when you dream and sometimes you can remember your dream. This stage has a key role in memory storing and learning. It’s also during this stage when happy hormones are released giving you that "feel good factor” giving you a mood boost.

• Non-REM is important too because this is where tissue growth and repair occurs, the body replenishes its energy stores and boosts the immune system. Hormones important for growth and development are also released during non-REM sleep.

  • The average teenager needs approximately 9 hours sleep a night. Work out what time you need to go to bed from the time you need to get up to make sure you allow yourself the opportunity to get a good night’s sleep
  • Bright lights leading up to bedtime can affect your sleep hormone (Melatonin), influence your internal clock and disrupt your sleep, this includes the blue light given off TV, phones, computers and tablets. Try to avoid using screens for one hour before your bedtime and turn down your bedroom lights (including coloured lights and LEDs) in the evening time
  • Try to stick to the same bedtime routine: go to bed and wake up at the same times each day, even on weekends
  • Try to create a bedroom environment that is good for sleep - dark, cool, quiet and comfortable
  • Try to limit the amount of caffeine you drink throughout the day. Too much caffeine can stop you falling asleep and reduce the amount of deep sleep you have. Caffeine can be found in drinks such as cola, energy drinks, tea, coffee and food and drinks containing chocolate. Try to avoid energy drinks all together and don't drink other caffeinated drinks after 12 midday.
  • Stress, worries, or difficulties with your mental health can impact your sleep. You might find it helpful to keep a diary to write down any thoughts or feelings before bed, so you’re not bottling these up. Getting support with your mental health can have a positive impact on sleep problems
  • If you're struggling with your sleep speak to your parents, carers or public health nurse for some advice and support.