Stressful Days, Sleepless Nights

Too Much Stress on Teens Taking a Toll on Sleep Schedules

How much sleep are you getting at night? Seven hours? Five? Less?

According to, the average teenager gets around seven hours of sleep per night when they should be getting way more than that. In order to function properly, teenagers need over nine hours of sleep each night.

Complications in our sleep schedules can stem from a variety of things. School, sports and other extracurricular activities, and technology are all things that can keep growing teens from getting the good night’s sleep that they deserve.

To the surprise of some older generations, teenagers do work hard. Teens wake up early to get ready for, and attend school all day long. After school, many go to sports or activity practices for two or more hours and then come home to loads of homework. Eight hours of school plus two hours of practice plus hours of homework seems like a lot to handle with only 24 hours in a day. This does not even account for the third of teens who also have jobs.

I often find myself wondering when a kid has time to be a kid. Putting so much stress on teens at such a young age can put a damper on their sleep schedule and can lead to mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.

Anxiety disorders affect 32% of the population of teenagers between the ages 13-18 at some point. This is becoming increasingly worse, and the number of anxiety disorders in children has gone up 20% since 2012, according to the National Institutes of Health. Researchers say that this might be due to the increasing competition in college admissions. The desire to outdo peers in school and extracurriculars has become prevalent in many teenagers’ lives. The stress of not being good enough could be what is keeping teens up at night.

Social media use has also been shown to increase stress and anxiety in teens. In this day and age, it is almost too easy to access some form of technology. Most teenagers have the whole internet right in their back pocket. FOMO is a term that has been brought to light in recent years. The fear of missing out lingers on the back of many teens’ minds. Hours of scrolling through social media and seeing people who are constantly trying to one-up each other is bound to take a toll. The little free time that teens do get is often spent online.

This is problematic because it increases pressure on teens to outperform their peers. Additionally, using the internet even an hour before you go to sleep has been proven to reduce sleep quality. It can make people groggy and tired while doing everyday activities such as driving. Teens would likely be much more productive in everything they did if they put their phones away before bed and took some activities off of their plate.

Competitiveness in the academic and athletic fields, and the culture that revolves around social media have left their marks on today’s youth. The years that are supposed to be spent forming relationships and having fun are spent with headaches and stress over trying to be the best. The stress of daily life has affected one of the most important things that teens will do all day…sleep.