Most teens don’t get enough sleep, usually because their schedules are overloaded or they spend too much time texting or chatting with friends until the wee hours of the morning. Other teens try to go to sleep early, but instead of getting much-needed rest, they lie awake for hours. Over time, nights of missed sleep (whether they’re caused by a sleep disorder or simply not scheduling enough time for the necessary ZZZs) can build into a sleep deficit (or sleep debt ). Teens with a sleep deficit can’t concentrate, study, or work effectively. They also can have emotional problems, like depression.
Lots of us have insomnia (trouble falling or staying asleep). The most common cause of insomnia is stress. But all sorts of things can lead to insomnia, including physical discomfort
(the stuffy nose of a cold or the pain of a headache, for example), emotional troubles (like
family problems or relationship difficulties), and even an uncomfortable sleeping environment (a room that’s too hot, cold, bright, or noisy).
It’s common for teenagers to have insomnia from time to time. But if insomnia lasts for a
month or longer with no relief, doctors call it chronic. Chronic insomnia can be caused by a number of different problems, including medical conditions, mental-health problems, medication side effects, or substance abuse. Many teens with chronic insomnia can be helped by a doctor, therapist, or other counselor. For some teens, worrying about the insomnia can
make it worse. A brief period of insomnia can build into something longer lasting when a teen
becomes anxious about not sleeping or worried about feeling tired the next day. Doctors call this psycho-physiologic insomnia.