Sleep Deprived Teens

Info graphic chart provided by shows where adolescents keep their phones at night.

Info graphic chart provided by shows where adolescents keep their phones at night.

Jasmine Knowles, Staff Writer and Photographer

Due to experience and research, it has been proved that there are numerous factors that contribute to a teenagers sleep patterns. Obvious hormonal changes affect their bodies because it produces shifts in melatonin, the sleep hormone, which alters a teens sleeping habits. There are a collection of contributors to sleep deprivation among teens such as part time jobs, overloads of homework, extra curricular activities, family and leisure time, on top of an average of six hours of school per day. When studying all night for an exam, sleep time is likely to decrease to four to six hours per night. Studies from have shown that the majority of teens today are living with borderline sleep deprivation without even realizing it.

Cody Oakes (‘18), a senior here at Arlington High School, says that he gets an average of six to seven hours of sleep per night and tends to stay up until 1:00 A.M. every weeknight.

“I usually nod off in two of my classes at least three times per week. It’s especially hard to stay awake when the lights are off in certain classrooms,” says Oakes.

“I’m known to frequently nod off in three of my classes at least four times a week. It’s usually in the classes where the teacher is lecturing or where the lights are off for a long period of time. I also work two jobs and only get two days off per week which allows for at most five hours of sleep per night,” says Alana Richardson (‘18).

Many teens go throughout their day with symptoms such as foggy minds, slower reaction times, lack of focus, and frequent fatigue. Daily tasks can be harder to complete and relationships can fail with their peers and family due to lack of communication skills.

Many teens resort to their phone as well before bed to check in with social media or other apps on their screens. Many people are unaware that “electronics emit a glow called blue light that has a particular frequency which hits the receptors eye and send the brain a signal telling the body that it isn’t tired,” when in actuality, it is.

“According to sleep expert Dr. Mary Carskadon, a professor of psychiatry at Brown University, teenagers actually need more sleep than younger kids, not less. Nine and a quarter hours of sleep is what they need to be optimally alert,” says

This statement provokes the question: why do high schools typically start an hour earlier than elementary schools if it is proven that teenagers require more sleep? Although a late start for high schoolers would be a positive change, that action can’t always be put into play. So what can be done to increase the 8% of US high school students who get the sufficient amount of sleep if there’s no way of stopping the stacks of paper from compiling or setting school times an hour later?


Here’s a list of ways to practice better sleeping habits:

  • Declutter the space around your bed and bedside table so when you wake up and go to sleep it is a less stressful environment. The way you start your day determines the rest of it!
  • Plan ahead and write a to do list for the upcoming days/weeks. Set three goals to accomplish each day.
  • Turn off the lights and unplug from all electronics at least an hour before bed. Light produces melatonin which keeps teens from feeling tired.
  • Split up your work between days and complete it in the morning. Don’t stress yourself out before bed or it’s likely to be a restless night.
  • Put your phone and alarm across the room so you’re more likely to get out of bed contrary to repeatedly hitting snooze.
  • Set a goal to go to sleep at a particular time every night.
  • Avoid foods high in sugar and fats before bed as they can give your brain an extra jolt of energy, making it a restless night of sleep.


Why Are Teenagers So Sleep-Deprived?