DEAR MAYO CLINIC: How much sleep should teenagers be getting, and how does it affect their health if they are sleep deprived? My daughter is 16 and only sleeps about six hours each night during the week. She says she isn’t tired and makes up for it by sleeping in on the weekends, but I am worried it’s affecting her ability to concentrate at school.
ANSWER: You’re right. Your daughter needs more sleep. To be well-rested and to help them stay healthy, teenagers need about nine to nine-and-a-half hours of sleep each night.
Healthy sleep is important for many reasons. It can fight stress, improve mood and attitude, and provide energy. When teens are well-rested, they can concentrate, learn, listen and think better than when they’re tired. That can improve school participation and performance. Healthy sleep also contributes to a healthy body, helping it run the way it should.
Unfortunately, many teens don’t get the sleep they need. One of the big reasons is that the body’s internal clock shifts during the teen years. In the preteen years, the hormone melatonin, which signals to the body that it’s time to sleep, is released into the bloodstream earlier in the evening.