The Sport Information Resource Centre
The Sport Information Resource Centre

Getting quality sleep is as important to our health and well-being as eating properly and maintaining regular exercise. It is recommended that adolescents’ ages 12 to 18 years get 9 to 10 hours daily; however, teens do not seem to get the appropriate amount due to academic pressures, part-time jobs and extra curricular activities. Add to this an internal clock that shifts their circadian rhythm 2 hours later making it difficult to fall asleep before 11 p.m.

A good night rest allows us to function better and be more alert and energetic to tackle the day’s events. Establishing a regular nighttime and morning routine is important in order to create proper bedtime conditions. For adolescents this can be difficult as their biological clock tends to be delayed, reducing the amount of time available. This delayed phase keeps teens awake when they should be falling asleep and making it very difficult for them to get up in the morning.

A recent study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, AAP, suggested that schools should readjust their start times to help adolescents attain the optimal amount of sleep. They further explain that aligning school schedules with teen biological clocks can help combat sleep deprivation.

Another interesting study on teens and lack of sleep, also published by the AAP, concluded that young athletes who got 8 or more hours each night had a 68% less chance of getting injured. However, for every increase in grade level the chances of an injury increased by 2.3%. It summerized that getting additional amounts of sleep as the adolescent got older could help decrease the possibility of sports related injuries.

Benefits of sleeping:

  • Learning and memory: Sleep helps to process information into memory which aids the learning process.
  • Mood: Loss of sleep can increase moodiness, irritability and impatience.
  • Weight: Quality bedtime rest can help maintain a healthy body weight, as the body is able to process and store carbohydrates.
  • Recovery: Sleep assists the recovery process since the body is repairing itself which increases an athlete’s ability to perform well.

Having good habits particularly in the adolescent years can be very important due to a delayed biological clock and having to wake up during the school week.  Sleep is an integral component of a healthy lifestyle and getting the recommended amounts can lead to better grades in the classroom and greater performances on the field.

References from the SIRC Collection:

1. Juliff L, Halson S, Peiffer J. Understanding sleep disturbance in athletes prior to important competitions. Journal Of Science & Medicine In Sport. January 2015;18(1):13-18.

2. Loureiro N, Matos M, Diniz J. Are fatigue and sleeping difficulty related to adolescent physical activity and sedentary behavior? Highlights from the Portuguese HBSC study. Archives Of Exercise In Health & Disease. March 2012;3(1/2):153-161.

3. MAK K, LEE S, HO S, LO W, LAM T. Sleep and Academic Performance in Hong Kong Adolescents. Journal Of School Health [serial online]. November 2012;82(11):522-527.

4. Noland H, Price J, Dake J, Telljohann S. Adolescents’ Sleep Behaviors and Perceptions of Sleep. Journal Of School Health. May 2009;79(5):224-230.

5. UNDERSTANDING the ZOMBIE TEEN’S BODY CLOCK. ASCA Newsletter. October 2012;2012(10):11-12.

6. Venter R. ROLE OF SLEEP IN PERFORMANCE AND RECOVERY OF ATHLETES: A REVIEW ARTICLE. South African Journal For Research In Sport, Physical Education & Recreation (SAJR SPER) [serial online]. May 2012;34(1):167-184.