Teenagers need 10 to 12 hours of sleep each day, but they may have a hard time reaching this goal because of emotional stressors, biological changes, and sleep habits.

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If you feel like your teenager is awake all night, you’re not alone. Up to 39% of adolescents experience insomnia. In addition to medical or stress reductions in sleep, biology may make teenagers even more likely to experience insomnia.

There are behavioral changes, therapies, and medications that can help.

Learn more about insomnia.

Symptoms of insomnia in teenagers — individuals ages 13 to 18 years — can include:

  • feeling tired, but then waking up after getting into bed
  • difficulty falling asleep
  • waking up frequently during the night and having a hard time falling back asleep
  • finding reasons to delay going to bed
  • difficulty waking up in the morning
  • frequently wanting to nap during the day
  • having trouble concentrating and remembering things

How much sleep do teens really need?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teenagers 13 to 18 years old need 8 to 10 hours of sleep every day.

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Research of 13- to 16-year-olds indicates that teenagers go through changes in their sleep structure and circadian rhythms that may cause them to naturally fall asleep later and also wake up later. Many teenagers spend a great deal of time on their phones, watching television, or using other technology, which may also make it difficult to fall asleep.

School start times can restrict how late teenagers can sleep, and this can result in sleep debts. Sleep deprivation ultimately may lead to further disturbances in their circadian rhythms.

Teenagers can also experience insomnia as a result of stress or medical issues like sleep apnea.

What ages are considered “teenage”?

The definition of “teenager” can vary from study to study. The CDC gives recommendations for individuals ages 13 to 18 years, while the National Sleep Foundation considers individuals ages 14 to 17 years to be teenagers.

The general recommendation for the amount of sleep people in this age group need is between 8 and 11 hours each night.

Kids are unique, so the exact amount of sleep each teen needs may vary.

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Some things that can potentially improve your teen’s insomnia include:

  • avoiding caffeine in the late afternoon and evening
  • sticking to a specific bedtime and sleep routine
  • limiting technology, including cell phones, computers, and television at night
  • getting exercise every day
  • talking with a licensed therapist
  • addressing any underlying health issues

If chronic insomnia is affecting your teenager’s health and quality of life, a doctor may be able to prescribe medications to help with sleep.

Some factors that can increase the chances of insomnia at any age include:

  • family history of insomnia
  • being assigned female at birth
  • daytime napping
  • not getting enough physical activity during the day
  • going through a breakup or other emotional events
  • use of nicotine, alcohol, or unprescribed drugs
  • anxiety
  • depression

Your teenager’s insomnia may last for a few days, months, or years, depending on the cause behind it. Addressing any underlying medical or environmental causes can help resolve insomnia more quickly and prevent more serious health complications from developing.

Finding help if you think your teen has insomnia

If your teenager is having trouble sleeping, you may want to speak with healthcare professionals, such as a:

  • doctor
  • therapist
  • local sleep clinic

A local hospital or doctor’s office may also offer a sleep support group for individuals living with insomnia.

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How do you fix bad insomnia?

You may be able to resolve insomnia by creating good sleep routines, getting plenty of daily exercise, and finding healthy outlets for stress.

If your insomnia persists or is affecting your life, it’s important to speak with a doctor. They can help decide if there’s an underlying medical cause.

What is the first-line treatment for insomnia?

Simple lifestyle changes like increasing physical activity, avoiding caffeine later in the day, or removing your cell phone from the bedroom can be a place to start treating your insomnia.

For long-term, chronic insomnia, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medications may be used to help get you back on track with your sleep.

Is there a blood test for insomnia?

There’s no single test that can be done to diagnose insomnia, but a doctor may perform blood tests to check if thyroid issues, low iron, or other health conditions are playing a role in your insomnia.

Will you eventually fall asleep with insomnia?

Yes, even if you have insomnia, exhaustion will eventually cause you to fall asleep.

Insomnia in teenagers is a common difficulty that can be caused by irregular sleep habits, emotional stressors, or biological changes. If your teenager is experiencing insomnia, it’s important to help them establish good sleep routines and find healthy ways to cope with stress.

Without sufficient sleep, your teenager may become forgetful, have trouble concentrating on important daily tasks, and get sick more frequently.

If you or your teenager is experiencing chronic insomnia, it’s important to speak with a doctor to prevent related health complications.