Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
North Wales Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
The importance of good sleep can be underestimated by many young people, but in fact, getting enough quality sleep is crucial in helping to maintain good mental and emotional health.
Why sleep is good for you
Adolescents have high sleep needs as they are growing and sleep is essential for growth. During sleep, growth promoting hormones are produced. Adolescents also tend to be more physically active and need more rest.
Why is lack of sleep bad for you?
According to the National Sleep Foundation website ‘sleep is food for the brain. During sleep, important body functions and brain activity occur.’
How much sleep is needed?
School age children (aged 5 - 11) need 10 - 11 hours sleep
On average, most adolescents need 9 - 10 hours sleep to function at their best
It is not how long we sleep which matters, but the type and quality of sleep is crucial.
There are different stages of sleep (transition to sleep, light sleep, deep sleep and also REM (dream) sleep).
Deep sleep is better for the body and mind than light sleep as it plays a major role in maintaining your health, stimulating growth and development, repairing muscles and tissues and boosting your immune system.
To find out if you are getting enough quality sleep, consider how you feel during the day and whether you feel generally alert all day.
Tips to help adolescents get better sleep:
If, having tried the above tips you find that you are still having difficulty sleeping most nights and/or you regularly wake up during the night and you have a major sleeping difficulty, it may be best to seek advice and support from a professional such as your GP.
Finally, remember - the quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort (Helpguide website).
The Sleep Council - 0845 058 4595 - www.sleepcouncil.org.uk