Insomnia In Teens - Causes, Symptoms And Remedies

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Has your teen been disturbed of late? Do you worry she doesn’t get enough rest? Does she have trouble getting to bed? If you nodded along in fervent agreement, you might want to read our post. Your teen daughter may have insomnia! But, don’t lose sleep over your teen’s lack of sleep. Read our post to learn all about insomnia in teens and how it can affect.

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a very common sleep disorder. When a teenager fails to get enough sleep throughout the day, he suffers from sleep deprivation or insomnia. If your teen suffers from insomnia, she will suffer from constant fatigue, which can escalate to further health complications. Insomnia can be short-term or constant.

Acute insomnia, or the one that is short-term, is the most common form of insomnia. Everyday events like exam stress, family pressures or a traumatic event and shock can trigger it. It can last for a few days or weeks.

Chronic insomnia may last for a few months or even longer. In most cases, chronic insomnia is a sign of some other health concern that are not known. Other sleep diseases, certain medications, medical conditions, or even some substances can lead to insomnia.

Insomnia can cause various health and other problems in your teen like depression, irritability, lack of energy, feeling weak, constant sleepiness, body, and headache. She can also face difficulty in remembering things or even speaking, lack of attention and even disinterest in regular social activities (1).

[ Read: Heartburn In Teens ]

Causes Of Insomnia In Teenagers?

Your teen is in a very conflicting stage during the teenage years. While she is not a child anymore, she is not an adult either. The conflicts that are going on in her mind have a way of manifesting themselves in her body. She may suffer from emotions and confusions through the teen years, causing immense pressure on her brain. With so much going on, it is natural that your teen may find it difficult to fall asleep, or stay asleep. Here are a few reasons that may cause teenage insomnia:

  • Psychological Problems:

The phase of adolescents comprises of numerous life-changing situations. Excessive study pressure or coping with the world can lead to teenage anxiety disorders, depression or post-traumatic stress disorders. All such psychological factors can lead to sleep deprivation in teens.

  • Medications That Promote Insomnia:

A certain group of medications like antidepressants, cold and flu medicines, diuretics, pain relievers or high blood pressure medicines induces insomnia in teens and is often mooted as one of the causes of the disorder.

  • Medical Problems Cause Insomnia:

Some health disorders can lead to sleep deprivation in teens. Some of these disorders include asthma, chronic pain, acid reflux, cancer, and hyperthyroidism.

  • Hectic Daily Schedule:

The rigorous hectic daily schedule deprives your teen’s sleep. He just doesn’t seem to have time to sleep. The extra schoolwork or social obligations of school or college can lead to sleep deprivation.

  • Leisure Activities:

Leisure activities include television, listening to music, computer gaming or internet surfing. These activities can hamper your teen’s sleep pattern and result in loss of sleep.

  • Sleep Disorders:

When your teen suffers from several other sleep disorders including restless legs syndrome or narcolepsy, it can affect his daily sleep harshly.

  • Hormonal Time Shift:

Sudden hormonal changes can shift your teen’s body clock. It can lead to a delay in sleep-time, often as late as 1-2 hours after the regulation time. The sleep debt that he accumulates by staying up, leads to sleep deprivation (2).

[ Read: Tips To Make Teens Eat Healthy ]

Research Concludes:

According to a study carried out by sleep researchers, insomnia is one of the most widespread yet under-recognized health conditions amongst teens. The study took place amongst teens in the age group 13 to 16.

  • As per the results, almost one-third teens have difficulty in falling asleep.
  • Almost 94 percent teens said they had difficulty in falling asleep at least twice a week.
  • A third of the teens in the study exhibit some other psychiatric illness, which leads to the insomnia.
  • A staggering 17 percent of teens who took part had clinical insomnia. All of them had trouble falling and staying asleep, and the lack of sleep interferes with their day to day lives. (2)

[ Read: Epilepsy In Teens ]

Symptoms Of Insomnia In Teenagers:

If your teen is suffering from insomnia, she will exhibit the following symptoms:

  1. Your teen could be uncharacteristically irritable – it is one of the most common signs of insomnia but is often wrongly interpreted as regular teen behavior.
  1. Your teen may complain that she is not able to fall asleep or that she wakes up too many times during sleep.
  1. No matter how much your teen seems to sleep, she will always be tired. She may also feel dizzy or weak and want to lie down and rest.
  1. Your teen may start becoming clumsy and may find it difficult to concentrate on anything. She may also not be able to remember things.
  1. You may notice severe mood swings in your teen, ranging from quiet, subdued and teary eyed to aggressive, loud and assertive.
  1. Your teen may suddenly start eating a lot or not want to eat at all.

[ Read: Ways To Deal With Teenage Mood Swings ]

Treating Insomnia In Teens:

To offer the effective treatment; the doctor will first assess various factors that may be causing the condition. Depending on your teen’s lifestyle and activities, the doctor may bring about certain changes that will affect his lifestyle overall. The doctor may take the following approach to treating your teen insomnia:

1. Assessment:

The doctor will first identify any contributing influences that may be causing disturbances in your teen’s sleep. It could be one particular factor or a mix of factors. The doctor may need to assess every factor to understand the most crucial one.

2. Lifestyle Changes:

Lifestyle changes can help prevent and stop short-term insomnia, which helps your teen fall and stay asleep. The doctor may advise your teen to stay off sugary beverages like colas, sodas, and any sweet foods during the second half of the day. Urge her to follow a bedtime routine even when she isn’t sleepy will help her. Your doctor might also recommend reducing her exercise and heavy eating at least five to six hours prior to bedtime.

3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):

If your teen has chronic or ongoing insomnia, the doctor may recommend CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy. The therapy targets various thoughts and actions that can disrupt your teen’s sleep. It will also encourage your teen towards positive thoughts that can trigger sleep.

[ Read: Migraine In Teenagers ]

4. Other Health Concern:

If your teen’s doctor feels that the insomnia is being caused due to some other health issue, he may first treat the main cause and then the sleep issues.

5. Medication:

The doctor may prescribe medication depending on the severity of the condition.

Insomnia is a fairly common problem that you can solve with timely changes and treatment. If your teen too faced the same problem regarding sleep, do share your experience with other moms here.

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