Chronic Fatigue in Adolescents: Tips for Understanding Adolescent Sleep

Chronic fatigue in adolescents is increasingly common and something parents should be aware of. Within the last 20 years, special attention has been devoted to the research of adolescent sleep and the impact it has on school performance. Researchers have noted throughout their research that there are distinctive differences in the sleep patterns of adolescents, as compared to child and adult sleep patterns.

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By understanding why our teenagers sleep patterns tend to change and differ from the adults or children in the home, we are better able to develop patience when dealing with chronic fatigue in our adolescents. It is important to note that sleep is vital to the development of teenagers and, as parents, it is important to understand and encourage their sleep. Below are some interesting facts researchers have noted about sleep patterns and chronic fatigue in adolescents.

• There are changes in the circadian rhythm that occur during adolescence that effect their sleeping patterns.

• Adolescents have a tendency to feel tired later at night while waking earlier in the morning.

• It can be surprising to some parents that, even when their adolescent had little sleep the previous night that they can still be wide awake into the late hours of the night the following night.

• Researchers have found that the secretion of melatonin in the adolescent tends to make it difficult for them to fall asleep in the early evening and to wake up early in the morning.

• It is actually a disadvantage to attend school with early start times before 8:30am. Early start times actually disturb the biological rhythms of the adolescent and last the entire school day.

• Teenagers require between eight to nine hours of sleep per night.

• Researches have found that sleep deprivation in teenagers and the resulting chronic fatigue found in adolescents is associated with memory deficits, impaired performance, decreased alertness, and delayed responses.

• Researchers noted that a decrease in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage in adolescents causes increased irritability, anxiety, depression, decreased socialization, reduced concentration a decreased ability to deal with complex situations.

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