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My Teen Struggles With a Nightly Routine. How Much Sleep Should My Teen Get at Night?

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Most of ‚Äčthe time, teens just really are not getting enough total sleep time. We know that at 13 years of age, for example, a teen should be getting 9 and five-eighths hours of sleep every night. That number doesn't drop to 9 hours until you're 17 years old. There are very few teenagers who are getting nine hours of sleep at night. That's why when we meet someone it's just really rare and a delightful surprise when I can say wow, you are getting enough sleep, this is awesome. I get equally excited when they're getting eight, because most of the time they're not even getting eight hours of sleep.

That can be two things. Probably the more common thing is being up late to do homework or being on electronics or reading or busy schedule. By the time they get home and get ready for bed, it's late. It's 11:00. And, they're up by 6:00 to get ready for school in the morning. Some kids are starting school by 7:00 or 7:30 in the morning. The time they're in bed is really short.

Less common but still occurring are teens who get to bed earlier and just can't fall asleep. That then becomes an insomnia issue, so we have to deal with that. Sometimes they're trying to get to bed even by 11:00 or 12:00 and they're awake still until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. That's a little different issue. They're trying to go to sleep, but they can't. That's considered a sleep phase delay.

All of those things require intervention but different types of intervention. Ultimately, the goal is to get them more sleep than they're actually getting.