Sideline Sports Doc: A teenager’s challenge to sleep well, play well

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07 Apr Sideline Sports Doc: A teenager’s challenge to sleep well, play well

Editor’s note: This article by Dev Mishra, M.D. (president of Sideline Sports Doc) appeared in SoccerAmerica. Sideline Sports Doc is advancing the Players First pillar of Player Health & Safety through resources that include an online injury recognition training course.

I’m sure anyone who’s raised an adolescent or teenager can attest to the idea that teenagers don’t get as much sleep as they need.

For the adolescent or teenager a number of outside influences take place: more demands on time for homework, socializing, sports, music, or any number of other activities.

Let’s take a look below at some reasons why sleep patterns change, what the proper amount of sleep is, and how it can affect sports performance.

Why sleep patterns change in a teenager
Each of us — no matter how old — has an internal clock that follows roughly a 24-hour cycle. The internal cycle has a wide range of effects on many different body functions such as body temperature, release of hormones (human growth hormone is released in larger amounts during sleep than wakefulness), and amount of sleep required.

In younger children the normal body clock would have them fall asleep around 8 or 9 o’clock each night and wake up in the morning when they’ve had enough sleep. But in puberty the surge in different hormones produced by the body changes all of that and it becomes very difficult to feel sleepy often until after 11 p.m. Throw in the required time on Instagram and you can see where all of this leads.

How much sleep does a teenager need and how many teens actually get that?
Most sleep researchers tell us that the typical teenager should have nine hours of sleep per night. Right now many of you are saying to yourselves “get real, that’s impossible” for most teenagers.

As the father of two teenage boys I’d have to agree. Several studies of teens have shown that about 90 percent get less than nine hours of sleep per night, and unfortunately, 10 percent said they typically get less than six hours per night. The definition of “sleep deprivation” in teens is not completely clear but generally means that the teen is consistently getting less than eight hours of sleep per night.

Read the entire article on SoccerAmerica’s Youth Soccer Insider.