The quality of sleep plays a vital role in well being and good health particularly in teenagers. This is because teenagers are going through a lot of physical and hormonal changes in their body, therefore getting a good night sleep is a vital aspect in their life. However multiple environmental factors can affect the hours of sleep a teenager gets every night. This subject is worth further research investigation because parents and teachers have blamed that sleep is affecting teenagers to perform well in school, therefore this needs to be further looked into. It has also been disgusted that the quality of sleep has made an effect on students to remain their engagement and focus during class, which then consequences to poorer academic results.
The sleep patterns of adolescents are more likely to change when they hit puberty. It has been found by researchers that the levels of melatonin kick in at a later time in their bodies. These findings have explained later bedtimes in teens (Carskadon 2002). Moreover, teens tend to sleep longer on weekends rather than during the week, this is because they rapidly and frequently change their sleep patterns usually due to their activities with school and environmental factors which affect them.
Meijer and colleagues have made a clinical review investigating the sleep patterns and school performance of adolescents. This study was conducted on 450 dutch students to examine the aspects of engagement during school depending on the quality of sleep they got the night before. It was found that 43% of these young adolescents had trouble getting up in the morning, 15% complained of sleep problems and 25 % did not feel rested during school, however, neither time in bed nor the quality of sleep was associated with these differences (Amy R Wolfsen and Mary A Carskadon 2003). The students who reported having trouble waking up in the morning reported having a lack of motivation to do their best in school on the other hand students who reported feeling more rested had a greater focus during class. This study proves that the quality of sleep certainly has a substantial impact on teenagers on school functioning such as motivation and achievement.
A further research was conducted by Kahn and colleagues on 972 students in Belgium. In this study, participants’ parents completed a questionnaire focused on the quality and quantity of sleep, their child’s behaviour and school achievement. Poor versus good sleepers were compared (poor sleep was defined as the report of sleep latency longer than 30 minutes plus more than one arousal per night on at least 2 nights per week). Out of the 972 students, 14% of them were classified as poor sleepers. This study was based on whenever or not the student met the academic requirements for their grade, failed or behind school as to be reported by their parent. Among all the students, it was found there were 21 % poor sleepers who failed at school and were behind in a grade by one or more years. (Kahn 2013). School difficulties and troubles were found more frequently among the poorer sleepers. Based on this research it can be predicted that school failure and lack of concentration could be associated with lack of sleep and fatigue.
Another study was conducted on European adolescents surveying 600 Dutch students by Hofman and Steenhof. This study was focusing on students’ sleep habits, sleep quality, and performance in school. The variables which were looked at were: weekday bedtimes, rise time, weekend bedtime. These investigators have found an association of better academic performance in school with the students who had a better sleep pattern. It was also pointed out that the use of drug-like substances such as alcohol, caffeine, nicotine affected their academic performance and sleep. (Amy R Wolfson and Mary A Carskadon).
To conclude from the research that has been done on the effects of sleep on the teenage brain, it can be stated that sleep can affect the teenage brain and its functioning during school. There is no definite answer to whether or not teenagers sleep too much or not enough. Many Teenagers have an inefficient sleep cycle because of their busy lives, which then has an effect on their academic achievements results and co-curricular activities.