Knowing how much sleep you and your little one need can be difficult. Just as each child is different, so can their sleep needs be as well. Children, when they lack sleep, have an opposite reaction to that of many adults or what many adults would think looks “tired”. When adults are tired, they usually slow down, get sluggish and sleepy, moody and experience what we know as ‘tired symptoms’. When children are tired or over tired they can react in the opposite way with symptoms resembling ADHD like hyperactivity, moodiness, energy surges, resistance and more (1).
In 2015, after 2 years of intensive clinical studies, the National Sleep Foundation released updated recommendations for how much sleep each age group needs (2). Here is the chart that came from those studies and is a great reference guide (3).
For teenagers, it becomes increasingly difficult getting those much needed zzz's. In addition to sleep hours guidelines, Dr. William J. Sieber taught in a conference for "Calming an Overactive Brain" that sleep is a crucial factor in our mental health and stress levels. He stated that the teenage circadian sleep pattern is actually shifted two hours later, which means they're usually not ready for bed until after midnight, yet they need about 9 hours of sleep per night to function fully. This shift to later circadian rhythms can be greatly helped by avoiding caffeine throughout the day, especially 5-6 hours before (4), and omitting electronic usage 2-4 hours before desired bedtime to help mitigate the effects of blue light syndrome (5).