How much sleep do teenagers need?

Boys Town

Teenagers need lots of sleep, but with activities, homework and early school start-times, many teenagers aren’t getting the sleep they need.

“Most of the time teens are not getting enough total sleep time,” said Boys Town Parenting Expert, Dr. Connie Schnoes. “We know at 13 years of age a teen should be getting 9 5/8 hours of sleep every night. That number doesn’t drop to 9 hours until you are 17 years old. And there are very few teenagers who are getting 9 hours of sleep at night.”

Here are four ways you can encourage your teenagers to get more sleep at night.

1. Put the electronics away. Light from the phone or iPad affects the brain in negative ways and makes it difficult to fall asleep.
2. Avoid napping during the day. It can be tempting, but if you make up sleep time by napping you will be less likely to sleep at night
3. Practice a bedtime routine. Put on pajamas, brush your teeth, and wash your face. This gives your body and brain a cue, that the day is over and it’s time for sleep.
4. Make sure the room is quiet and dark when you go to bed.

Teens are on computers, their reading, using their cell phone and iPads -- in bed. Sometimes they are in bed from the time they get home until they go to sleep. They are living their life in bed. That’s not healthy. Practice nothing but sleep in bed to teach your brain and body that bed is for sleep.

Teens who practice healthy sleep habits do better in school and in their daily activities.