Whether it’s tossing and turning, watching a movie, or being unable to calm one’s mind, a lack of sleep means a rough day ahead. Sleep is one of the single most important parts of a person’s everyday life cycle. It gives you an opportunity to unwind and subconsciously process while giving the conscious mind a much-needed break. However, due to a variety of factors, sleep is much more difficult for teenagers – though no less important. Good, long restful sleep can make all the difference in a teen’s overall mental health, and sadly, sleep-deprived teens are more prone to addiction.
No matter what age you are, addiction can be one of the most difficult things to recover from. Fortunately, there is help out there, and we can help guide you to the treatment that is right for you. Call us at 706-480-8733 to learn about all the options for recovery. Let us make this challenging journey a little easier for you.
Do sleep deprivation and addiction connect? Continue reading below for more information. You can click a link to jump to that section.
Why Teens Need Sleep
As adolescents turn into teens, there is often a shift in responsibility. Parents award more freedom, and in turn, teens have a little more control over their lives. Oftentimes, part of this control is over their sleep schedule. However, teenagers, in the second stage of cognitive maturation, actually need sleep more than most other people. As many teens might tell you, that is not always easy to achieve. Though some may brag about all-nighters, others may have been up begging for sleep.
Part of the reason most teens have trouble sleeping is due to a natural shift in their circadian rhythm. Before puberty, most children become sleepy around 8:00 or 9:00 PM, but after puberty, there is around a 2-hour delay, meaning most teens do not feel sleepy until 10:00 or 11:00 PM. Coupling this with early start times for school means teens are not getting the sleep they need.
How much sleep do teens need? Generally, according to John Hopkins’ pediatrician Dr. Michael Crocetti, teens need 9 to 9.5 hours of sleep every night. This is because, as mentioned, they have entered the second developmental stage of cognitive maturation. In this stage, it is important to get the right amount of sleep because it supports healthy brain development and physical growth spurts. But with a shift in the circadian rhythm, this can be challenging.
This rhythm is based on two factors: 1. How long it has been since one last slept. 2. The internal body clock. It is important to keep these factors in balance. Though life sometimes demands an odd start or stop time for sleep, following a schedule can be the best thing for one’s sleep habits. In adhering to a sleep schedule, teens can maximize their sleep and maximize their mental and physical well-being.
The Bond Between Sleep and Mental Health
As mentioned, sleep is necessary for teens and most anyone to promote overall wellness. Good mental health starts with the right amount of sleep. However, in sleep-deprived teens, their mental health may be at risk.
There is a clear connection between sleep deprivation and anxiety and depression in teens. The scientists behind a study found that each hour of sleep loss was associated with a 38% increase in feelings of sadness and hopelessness. What’s even more alarming is that the study also found that for each hour of sleep lost there was a 58% increase in the potential for suicide attempts. If high school seniors have excessive daytime sleepiness that they are 3 times more likely to have depression.
Another result of sleep deprivation is a lack of emotional regulation. In a study done by the University of Arkansas, individuals who lost a night of sleep responded with more emotion to stressors in the lab. This led the researchers to conclude that lack of sleep can have a negative impact on the mind. Specifically on the functioning of the emotional regulation circuit in the brain. This is especially harmful to teens because at this stage in their development, self-regulation, is still developing. By adding a lack of sleep into the mix, teens can become victims of an overall lack of self-control. Making them react erratically to daily problems. Sleep is necessary for positive mental health and self-control.
If you need assistance or support with a teen addiction then contact us today. Our experts will help you choose the right path of treatment for your situation. Do not hesitate. Call today.
Lack of Sleep and Addiction
The mental health risks from a lack of sleep are bad enough on their own; however, lack of sleep along with a lack of emotional regulation and depression can and often does lead to substance abuse.
A 2012 study from the University of Texas sought to find and understand the link between sleep deprivation and drug abuse. The study found that sleep-deprived teens were more prone to use tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol. The depressive effects of a lack of sleep typically drove teens to seek a dopamine release from these substances, and those with the most depressive symptoms/least sleep abused substances the most, even two years later. The study also supported this in finding that teens with better sleep schedules – in the beginning or at the follow-up to the study two years later – used less or did not use substances at all.
Young and Under Developed Brains
Another study, headed by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, found that the use of stimulants like cocaine impairs sleep. When combining this with the effects a lack of sleep already has, it can produce changes in the brain that predispose teens to further drug use and addiction. Essentially, a lack of sleep along with drug use can hardwire a teen’s brain to be more addiction-prone in the future.
Since teens’ brains are not fully developed, addiction-related changes occur more easily than in the brain of a fully developed adult. To avoid rewiring the brain for addictive behavior, the first and easiest step is to simply sleep more. Sleep is the best substance abuse prevention in teens. By sleeping more, teens are less likely to behave erratically and have symptoms of depression; in avoiding these, teens will more likely avoid substance abuse as well. Let us help you avoid substance abuse. Call us today. We can help you start living a safer life tomorrow.
The Social Factor in Sleep Deprivation and Addiction
It should now be clear that substance abuse and addiction are tied to sleep-deprived teens. However, the lack of sleep and the potential for addictive behavior can affect more than just the person who is not getting sleep.
It was found that there can be clusters of poor sleep behavior and drug use that extend out to four degrees of separation – to one’s friends’ friends’ friends’ friends. People you may never have had contact with can be part of this cluster and affected by it.
A lot of this has to do with social influence and at times even peer pressure. People often take on or share the habits of those they choose to associate with. Naturally, this transmission of habits can include sleep patterns and drug use.
In numbers, the study found that if your friend gets 7 hours of sleep or less, you are statistically 11% more likely to get 7 hours or less yourself. Moreover, if a friend uses a drug, like marijuana, it increases your likelihood of using marijuana by 110%. When combined, the likelihood that you will use drugs increases by 19% if you have a friend who sleeps less than 7 hours.
In social isolation, behaviors like these do not exist. But in large social groups, such as most teens have, behaviors can transmit with ease. One person’s poor sleeping habits can result in drug use, and that combination of sleep deprivation and drug use can spread amongst friends, affecting large numbers of people who may not even know the source person. Contact us today to get the support that you need to overcome this addiction. Remember you are not alone.
Sleep Keeps You Happy, Healthy, and Sober
As all young adults will eventually discover, moms are right about many things, and the importance of sleep is surely one of them. Sleep is necessary for the prevention of substance abuse in teens. A lack of sleep can not only lead to depression and create issues with emotional regulation and self-control, but it can also lead to addiction. As the teenage brain develops, it is subject to a variety of influences; a lack of sleep and substance abuse can hardwire the brain for addictive behavior in the future. To avoid this, any and all sleep-deprived teens should analyze and adjust their sleep schedules to match their circadian rhythm and maximize their sleep time to around 9 hours each night.
For those who may have learned this information too late, the good news is that sobriety is possible; addiction can be overcome. You do not need to suffer through these hard times alone. All it takes is the right help and support. Whether you are a sleep-deprived teen or the parent of one, our specialists can help you assess your risky habits and find treatment if necessary. Give us a call today at the number below.
Written by Richard Morris