The Living Dead: Sleep Deprivation in Teens

sleep deprivation in teens

Photo Credit: flickr user – nigelpepper

In our society, people just expect teenagers to be extremely tired all the time, but many don’t ask why. Sleep deprivation in teens has become an epidemic in the United States. According to the CDC, about 70 percent of teens are sleep deprived. It’s hard to believe that seven in 10 teenagers you meet are running on less than eight hours of sleep.

What’s causing sleep deprivation in teens?

Honestly, a multitude of things. Multiple studies have been conducted attempting to narrow down the direct causes of sleep deprivation in teens. Sleep has been proven to be something that humans desperately need in order to survive, work their best, and function properly. Not catching enough Zs can limit your ability to concentrate, think, and learn. In the worst cases of sleep deprivation, death can be the outcome.

From the National Sleep Foundation, a few reasons for sleep deprivation in teens include:

  • Biology: During adolescence, sleep patterns shift making it very unnatural for a teenager to be able to fall asleep before 11 pm.
  • Light exposure: Teenagers and their phones are often inseparable. The light a phone emits makes teens’ bodies think it’s still daytime, making it harder for them to fall asleep.
  • Society’s attitude: Western culture tends to look at sleep as wasted time that could be used being active or working, this is untrue because sleep is required to keep the body functioning.
  • Sleep disorder: If your child suffers from sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome, it can definitely affect how much sleep they’re getting if not dealt with properly.

Treating sleep deprivation

If your son or daughter is continuously struggling with getting enough sleep, it could be time to seek out treatment. Not getting enough sleep can cause poor academic performance and cognitive functioning, making it imperative to help. Sometimes teenagers need a deeper, more comprehensive intervention than traditional therapy can provide. Here’s where Trails Carolina can help.
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program that helps individuals struggling with issues such as depression, anxiety or sleep deprivation in teens. Our program creates an environment where teenagers can find their own path to positive personal growth.
For more information about how Trails can help with sleep deprivation in teens, contact us today at 800-975-7303.

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


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