sleep deprivation in teens

10 tricks to restrict sleep deprivation in teens this school year

October 25, 2023

A good night’s rest is essential for everybody. Nowadays, students are facing severe sleep deprivation. Teens cannot cope with classes, homework, projects, exams, and extracurricular activities from all sides.

It’s normal for teenagers to sleep more than adults – teenagers need between 8-10 hours of sleep per night, compared to 7-9 hours for adults. When your teen goes to sleep matters – the best bedtime window is between 8pm and 12am because this gives sufficient time for all the non-REM sleep, we need to function optimally. Going to bed later increases the chances of lighter sleep

What causes sleep deprivation in teenagers?

What causes sleep deprivation in teens?

Before considering the tricks for better sleep, one should detect the reason for sleep deprivation in teens. Most parents curse their child’s electronic devices as the root of the problem. The reasons may vary from one teen to another. 60% of teens are sleep deprived due to school pressure, 30% are charmed by social media, and 10% of teens have different reasons like sleep disorders. The pandemic was heavily blamed for changes in sleep patterns. Parents should openly talk to their children about the issues bugging them and not letting them sleep.

What Impact does Sleep deprivation have?

The impact of sleep deprivation is noticed in health deterioration and the decline in academic performance. Teen students who don’t get adequate sleep hamper their mental wellness as well, which can lead to recklessness, unruly behaviour, low esteem, anxiety, and depression.

One study, published in 2020, followed a large cohort of teenagers from ages 15-24. The 15-year-olds who reported sleeping badly, but didn’t have anxiety or depression at the time, had a higher chance of depression by the time they reached 17, 21 or 24 years of age. While the significance of these findings is not well understood, it could mean that early management of sleep issues can reduce the chance of mental health issues in later life. 

Can’t teens just sleep more at weekends?

It’s a popular misconception but you can’t ‘catch up’ on sleep at the weekend. A sleep deficit that’s formed during the week cannot be recouped. 

Ever had a lie-in on Sunday morning only to find you are wide awake on Sunday night? Teens need a consistent schedule, crucially, including weekends. 

Weekend lie-ins disrupt the sleep schedule, so aim for the same bedtime and wake time every day. To catch up on sleep, go to bed earlier, rather than sleeping in, to keep the same alarm time.

10 tricks to restrict sleep deprivation in teens

sleep deprivation in teens

Restrict usage of electronics

It is next to impossible in the 21st century to live without smartphones, laptops, technology and social media. Interacting with friends on different social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram falls into their daily routine. The screen light disrupts the sleep schedule. Teens should have a device-free hour before going to sleep. In extreme conditions, if required, parents should confiscate their devices for the night.

Make a schedule

Teens usually stay up late at night to chat or talk to friends over the phone, gaming, or binge-watching movies and web series. A regular sleep routine should be set and they should try to stick to it. Simultaneously, create a study routine and make sure they do not clash with each other. For teen students, it is ideal to go to bed at 10:30 pm. Do not try to break the schedule because once broken, it will be challenging to mend again. Sleeping late with an excuse of weekends should not be entertained. Parents are advised to be a little strict in this case.

Turn on Reading Mode

The pandemic has paved the way to educate students digitally. The 7 hours of school timing has changed its mode to digital. The students attend their school, tuition classes and extracurricular classes, mainly on their smartphones or laptops. Harvard researchers have shown that the blue light emitting from the devices’ screens is harmful to the eyes. It deteriorates the sleeping pattern, and quality, and takes longer for teens to fall asleep. When the reading mode is activated on the screen of phones and laptops, it adds a yellow tint that protects the eyes.


To help promote a sleep cycle, teenagers should be advised to loosen up their minds an hour before going to bed. Very few people are lucky to sleep the moment they hit the pillow. But most of them generally take around 30 minutes to sleep genuinely. They should not take any stress or tension to bed. Let them listen to soothing or calm music, take a bath or just snuggle up on their bed with an Orbit weighted blanket, using the comforting weight of nano-beads to help guide away restlessness. Spending time just letting them unwind the whole day’s pressure.

Sleep-friendly bedroom

Make sure that teens have an appropriate sleeping ambience. The sleeping environment should not be neglected as it creates a big difference. Create a sanctuary of peace and comfort, and they may just take an early night for once. Simba’s award-winning Hybrid® mattress range is designed to suit different budgets and to offer additional plushness and premium features as you go up the range.

The body has to send signals to the brain that they are ready to sleep under favourable conditions. Turn it into a quiet and cool room. Parents should advise teens to blackout their space to ensure good quality sleep. Shut the door and close the drapes on their windows. Books should not be piled up in the bed. One should have adequate space to have a night of quality sleep.

Control intake of caffeine

Caffeine is the most preferred drink among students. It helps students to stay alert but kills sleep. Parents must monitor teens drinking coffee, tea, or any other caffeine drinks like Coke at all costs. Caffeine consumed within 6 hours of sleep will affect night sleep. Apart from impacting students’ sleep routines, it can also increase blood pressure, heart rate, digestive problems, and muscle cramps. Excessive intake of coffee can lead to anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. Herbal tea or green tea should be offered in place of coffee.

Limit afternoon naps

The long naps taken in the daytime or afternoon can disrupt the night sleeping schedule. It lowers the quality of the night’s sleep. They should be short-term; not more than 30 minutes should be allotted to the afternoon naps. Students should set an alarm to wake themselves up. Teens can engage themselves in some fun activities to avoid naps.

Physical exercises

Sound sleep is the result of regular activities. Exercise raises the core body temperature. After intense workouts, the decrease in body temperature indicates to the brain that it is time to sleep. The tiredness caused by exercising will ensure tight and quality sleep. Teens should set 1 hour from their everyday routine for exercises. Walking, running, and jogging also work well. Mediation should be practised to ease down their thoughts. It slows down metabolic activity and reduces anxiety, thus improving sleep.


Essential oils are another most recommended way to sleep better. Essential oils like lavender, jasmine, rose and sandalwood are the most preferred ones to reduce wakefulness and increase non-REM sleep. Their sedative and soothing effect does all the magic. Rosemary and peppermint essential oils are proven to improve mood and health. Some essential oils are also useful in treating anxiety and depression.

Healthy Diet

A balanced diet containing white rice, green vegetables, fish or egg, and milk should be consumed. Snacks that are high in carbohydrates like cereal, fruit juices, and fruits like bananas should be preferred over all. Dinner should be eaten at least 2-3 hours before going to bed. Avoid overeating or less eating before bedtime; this might cause digestive problems and acidity later at night.

sleep deprivation in teens

Even after following all the tricks mentioned, one might not get the desired results. If the teen does not succeed in developing a successful sleeping habit, then a bigger step must be taken. Sometimes, there can be underlying health or mental issues. It will be highly advised to consult with an expert in that case.

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