Teen Sleeping Patterns

The sleeping patterns of teenagers can be as much of a mystery as their attitudes. It seems that they can function on a few hours of sleep better than they can if they have slept for two days straight. If this is a regular occurrence, it can be alarming to some parents.

Well, not to worry. At this stage of their lives, it is not uncommon for teenagers to have strange sleeping habits. It all has to do with their development. Experts say that the changing sleep patterns are more a function of what is happening internally than it is the hectic schedule of a teenager.

Here is some food for thought. Have you ever woken up a teenager and gotten a grumpy or angry reply? Before you ground them, know that during sleep the brain begins to process what has been learned during the day. For teenagers, there is at least six hours of school that gets processed when they sleep.

And, most of that processing takes place in the latter hours of sleep. Of course this is not why your teenager wants to keep sleeping, but allowing them to sleep longer is better for their learning process. This process is a nightly thing. So, catching up on sleep at the end of the week won’t be of any advantage to their learning and retaining information taught at the beginning of the week.

During the teenage years, the body is still growing. Many teenagers experience growth spurts during this time. And don’t even mention puberty and the changes that occur there. The growth hormones get kicking when the body is asleep. During this period of rest, they go to work. So, the sleep cycle is pretty important.

The brain is growing and changing as well. New brain cells are working to form all sorts of synaptic pathways as well as influencing the growth of the prefrontal cortex which is essential to thinking and reasoning. Your teenager needs that part to develop to help them grow out of the typical teenager stages of life.

So, what do you do when your child wants to sleep all day on Saturday? Let them sleep. Sometimes it is beyond their will. If they have tired themselves out or existed on limited sleep all week, the body will have the last say.

Sleep is for more than just laying your head on soft sheets and pillows. For teenagers, it is a time when the body goes to work, shaping and growing from the inside out. Changing sleeping patterns can be a little disconcerting to parents but they are normal for your child.