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AAP: Teens and Sleep

Anna Esparham, MD, FAAP, DABMA, DABOIM, Children's Mercy Kansas City, recently shared her expertise with the American Academy of Pediatrics about teens and healthy sleep. 

Many teens have a hard time winding down at bedtime. This can prevent them from getting the recommended 8 to 10 hours of sleep they need every night. Not surprisingly, many teens report difficulty concentrating at school, daytime sleepiness, and fatigue.

Causes of sleep issues in teens

Teens often have more trouble falling asleep than when they were younger. Rapid body changes, especially in adolescence, can disrupt sleep. This happens because the growth phase they're in causes their circadian rhythm—the body's internal clock—to reset, delaying their sleep cycle.

Stress, anxiety, and worry are other common reasons for sleep problems. Teens are dealing with more stress lately, interrupting their rest and recovery at night. Late-night phone and social media use, and sports or other physical activities close to bedtime can also make it more difficult to fall asleep.

Other causes of sleep trouble include health conditions like iron deficiency. Teens who don't have enough of this mineral may have symptoms such as cramps and involuntary movements in their legs that can wake them up from sleep. If your doctor thinks your child may have this issue, they will typically order a hemoglobin, ferritin, and/or iron test panel to check.

To learn why sleep is so important and tips to help your teen sleep better read the entire article via HealthyChildren.org