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reviewed 2/27/2019

Tired teens

The cost of lost sleep.

Getting enough sleep is a common problem among teenagers. Find out how cutting these hours of rest can ruin teen health.

Sleep matters. Teens need about eight to 10 hours a day, but surveys show that few get that much sleep on school nights. Read on to learn how that lost sleep can impact your life.

Your physical appearance changes:

  • You get pimples.
  • You gain weight. When you're tired, you're more likely to overeat and to eat sweets, fried foods and other calorie-heavy stuff.
  • You look tired. Because you feel tired.

Your brain power slumps:

  • You're forgetful. Your memory is poor.
  • You're less alert than usual. You're also slow to react. That makes you a danger behind the wheel.
  • You have difficulty focusing and learning. Your grades may suffer as a result.

Your emotions are erratic:

  • You're irritable, impatient or angry.
  • You're getting into more arguments than usual.
  • Your mood is pretty low. You might even be depressed.

Your physical health suffers:

  • You get sick.
  • Your hormones get out of whack.

Your performance slips:

  • You don't move as fast as you could.
  • Your favorite video games are more of a challenge than usual.

Five tips for better sleep:

  • Stick to the same sleep-wake schedule every day.
  • Switch to caffeine-free drinks by late afternoon.
  • Turn off the TV, computer and phone as bedtime nears.
  • Keep your bedroom dark, cool and quiet.
  • If you still can't get enough sleep, talk to your doctor.

Sources: American Academy of Sleep Medicine; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Sleep Foundation

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