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The importance of Sleep Support

The importance of Sleep Support

Sleep Support

 

At Bioteen, our purpose is to inspire and empower teens to make the right health and wellness decisions to achieve their aspirations and realise their true potential. We do this in a couple of ways, from offering delicious and practical recipes to inspirational workout challenges and even ways to de-stress and unwind.

 

Shop all products here

 

We know that having the right information is really important, but where the magic really happens is when we pair this information with the power of high-quality, outcome-driven nutraceutical supplements to physiologically support your teen, whether it’s at school, on the sports field, or when they are out and about strengthening their social circles.

At Bioteen, we have summarized our approach to optimal teen health by developing what we call the 5 pillars of wellness. One of these pillars is rest.

Read more about The 5 Pillars of Wellness here

 

Why should we care about sleep?

 

Sleep literally accounts for ¼ to ⅓ of our lives, this is an insane amount of time! Many teen’s fight against sleep, especially late at night, to try to squeeze in more of what life has to offer. But the truth is, that without enough restorative sleep, the quality of life that they do have (even though there may be a few more hours of it), will suffer and so will their health.

 

Learn more about Supersleep, our ready-to-mix sleep aid

 

Understanding sleep and health

 

A lack of sleep can happen for a variety of reasons from practical considerations like being overstimulated by electronics late at night paired with an early start for school to physiological problems like struggling to falling asleep, not getting enough deep, restorative sleep, or trouble staying asleep (i.e. waking up a whole bunch of times). Whatever the reason, supporting sleep will help your teen build their healthiest and happiest future.

 

Contrary to popular belief, sleep is not passive. Your body doesn’t switch off and waste this time. In fact, sleep is so important to your body that when you don’t get enough, it actively tries to get you to make up for a lost time. While you are sleeping, the brain is actively engaged, and having enough, good-quality sleep can have far-reaching consequences on your teens cognitive, psychological, and even physical well-being.

 

Sleep and cognitive health

 

Think back to when your teen was a baby and you were severely sleep-deprived. Remember how even the simplest task felt like it took all of your brain power? That’s because sleep is incredibly important for cognitive health, which includes concentration, learning, memory, and even intelligence.

 

One of the reasons why this may happen, especially in teens, is because sleep duration has been shown to be positively associated with an increase in the hippocampal regional gray matter volume of healthy children. Essentially new neurons are forming. This change may have an effect on episodic memory, or long-term memory and recollection.

 

Your teen will use these skills mainly at school, where they spend the lion’s share of their day absorbing (and remembering) new information. If your teen is not sleeping enough or not sleeping well, they may struggle to perform academically. This isn’t just a problem when it comes to their academic goals (and future career prospects), but in the longer term if your teen is struggling at school it can severely impact their self-confidence and dramatically increase their stress levels. Research shows us that when we repeatedly fail at something, we are less likely to persevere. So the more your teen struggles at school, the less likely they are to feel motivated to keep trying. With all the changes that come along with being a teen, this is the last thing that they need on their plates.

 

Here are 8 nutrition hacks to improve sleep

 

Sleep and psychological health

 

Besides these cognitive setbacks, a lack of sleep is also closely linked to psychological health and emotional regulation. A sleepy teen may be prone to increase negative moods, including depressive symptoms. When your teen is feeling down, it may be difficult to rationalise with them and these feelings may be intensified because a lack of sleep also causes your teen to respond more dramatically to their emotions and may even cause them to remember certain events in a more negative light.

 

As you can imagine, having all these emotions and negative feelings isn’t a pleasant experience for your teen or anyone in their wake. Besides this, feeling this way can also negatively affect your teen’s self-confidence and then have a knock-on effect on their school, sports, and social lives. All in all, a sleep-deprived teen is generally not a happy teen.

 

Read about how nutrition affects sleep duration and quality

 

Sleep and physical health

 

Last, but not least, if teen’s are not sleeping enough, they are going to feel sleepy and experience fatigue. The difference between the two is that sleepiness is an ‘increased tendency to fall asleep whereas fatigue is ‘abnormal exhaustion after normal activities. So for example, if your teen falls asleep at the drop of a hat (for example if they take a nap), then they may be sleepy. On the other hand, if your teen doesn’t have energy for everyday activities, like going to school or playing sports, but doesn’t fall asleep, then they may be fatigued. The problem with excessive sleepiness and fatigue is that both affect your teens ability to function at their peak. In the short term this can affect their school and sports performance and may cause them to exclude themselves from social activities.

 

Sleep and immunity

 

Not getting enough sleep can also have a profound effect on your teen’s immunity. Getting enough hours of high-quality sleep supports a well-balanced immune defense that includes a modulated innate and adaptive immune response, better response to vaccines, and less severe allergic reactions. Basically, the immune system isn’t under or overreacting. Steering clear of the sniffles means that their day-to-day activities are less likely to be disrupted. In the long term, not sleeping enough or having a misaligned circadian rhythm (i.e. being awake when it’s dark and sleeping when it’s light) can also have severe metabolic consequences and increases your teen’s risk for obesity, diabetes, and even heart disease.

 

Learn more about how to maintain a healthy biological clock

 

The bottom line

 

Sleep is essential for everyone, but it is especially important during times of growth and transition, aka the teenage years. Not getting enough sleep can impact your teen on so many different levels, and in general, it just makes being a teen a little harder.

 

What your teen learns now, about habits like good sleep hygiene, will carry them into their adult lives and if we play our cards right, will help them form the healthiest habits that will support their health not just now, but for years to come.

 

Getting enough sleep means that the chances are higher that your teen will perform better at school, feel calmer and more emotionally regulated and also feel energised to take life by the horns! As with anything in life, getting enough good quality sleep isn’t affected by only one thing. That’s why it’s important to focus on multiple strategies and biological pathways to support sleep from all angles. When done right, sleep is restorative and enhances awake times, meaning your teen can get more done and feel better while they are doing it.

 

References

  1. Taki Y, Hashizume H, Thyreau B, Sassa Y, Takeuchi H, Wu K et al. Sleep duration during weekdays affects hippocampal gray matter volume in healthy children. NeuroImage. 2012;60(1):471-475.
  2. Brand S, Kirov R. Sleep and its importance in adolescence and in common adolescent somatic and psychiatric conditions. International Journal of General Medicine. 2011;:425.
  3. Tarokh L, Saletin J, Carskadon M. Sleep in adolescence: Physiology, cognition and mental health. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 2016;70:182-188.
  4. Davidson P, Pace-Schott E. Go to Bed and You MIGHT Feel Better in the Morning—the Effect of Sleep on Affective Tone and Intrusiveness of Emotional Memories. Current Sleep Medicine Reports. 2021;7(2):31-46.
  5. Findlay S. The tired teen: A review of the assessment and management of the adolescent with sleepiness and fatigue. Paediatrics & Child Health. 2008;13(1):37-42.
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