Insomnia among teenagers is more common than many suspect. It is often caused by emotional problems stemming embarrassment, anger, relationship, exam stress, and adjustment difficulties and numerous other problems at school. The pattern of sleep that teenagers have changes during adolescence in that the time that we fall asleep becomes later. For some teens their internal clock will set them to a fall asleep time as late as 11:30 or 12 oíclock. This can combine with the numerous contributing factors mentioned above to make teen insomnia a common, everyday feature of teen life.
Insomnia in teenagers is often the related to a fairly common condition known as delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS). DSPS sufferers can take many hours to get to sleep, which usually occurs in the early morning. However, these people do tend to fall asleep at the same time each and every night, regardless of when they go to bed. As a result of the late hour of actually getting to sleep, sufferers of this condition find it very hard to wake and rise in the morning. Many teenage sufferers may be viewed simply as being lazy by their parents. If the teenager is allowed to get about 6-8 hours of sleep, he or she will not feel tired throughout the remainder of the day.
DSPS differs from insomnia in that most sufferers of DSPS do have a far greater ability to sleep in the late morning than do the typical insomniacs. Also if a DSPS sufferer were to stay up too late until the time they normally fall asleep (which may be between 1-2 am, they will tend to fall asleep quite quickly).
Teens who are suffering from teenage insomnia should follow good sleeping habits, and ensure that they get regular exercise during the day. They need to establish a relaxing pattern prior to going to bed. Listening to soothing music, taking a warm bath, or just enjoying a nice, warm glass of milk (not coffee) are ideal. If you still canít fall to sleep, rather than tossing and turning in bed, flick the light on and start reading. That may be all that it takes to get you to fall asleep. (especially if itís a math text book!).