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Do teens need more sleep?

Aug 05, 2022

By Neelam Rahim

Many parents will tell you that their teenage children tend to want to sleep and are always sleeping. But how much sleep does a Teen need, and do they need more rest as they grow or are they just milking the situation?

Radio Islam International is joined by a senior lecturer of Physiological Science within the department of Human Biology, Faculty of health science at the University of Cape Town (UCT), Dr Dale Rea. 

Regarding the role of sleep in the human body Dr Dale said the one message is that no sleep leads to eventual death. Sleep is critical for survival. It is also crucial for mental and physical health, and it helps stabilise moods and regulates emotions, including our thinking, memory and learning. From a health perspective, it helps our body repair and recovers every single day.

Dr Dale argues that training one to sleep less will not necessarily be more productive. She said constant sleep deprivation over time leads to procrastination and becoming less productive.

Meanwhile, teens are in a challenging position as their bodies change, so their sleep demand is high.

According to Dr Dale, teens need between eight to ten hours of sleep per night for optimal growth and development. At the same time, their body clock shifts, making them much more oriented. Many teens can only fall asleep at a reasonable hour, and with the school schedule requiring them to be up at around 6 or 6:30 am to get to school on time, they have a concise sleep opportunity and are sleep deprived.

She says you will then find on the weekend they do massive catch-up sleep in a very late sleep. In turn, they look lazy to their parents as they want to spend time sleeping instead of being active. But are just trying to pay back sleep debt.

Dr Dale further tells Radio Islam the signs of sleep deprivation in teens include mood swings, procrastination, and a battle to control their emotions during the daytime. One of the main things is a big catch-up sleep over the weekend.

She says you can pay back sleep debt with catch-up sleep. The thinking is that it’s better to pay back some of that sleep debt than not and constantly remain sleep-deprived.

Listen to the full interview on Radio Islam’s podcast below.



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