Thursday, July 21, 2011

Symptoms of Insomnia in Teenagers

Did you know that one in four teenagers show symptoms of insomnia every day for a month? A study published in the journal Sleep examined adolescents between the ages of 11 to 17 for the following symptoms of insomnia; non-restorative sleep, trouble falling asleep easy, nighttime waking and having trouble falling back to sleep and early morning awakenings. The result found symptoms of insomnia in teenagers is common among those with mood and anxiety disorders, as well as substance abuse.

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In conclusion of the study, a year later, nearly half of the participants had one or more of the above symptoms and more than a third had at least one symptom in addition to afternoon sleepiness. The additional fatigue and sleepiness during the day suggests that there is a progression to their condition. Part of the teen study analyzed different background variables including; family income, gender, age, ethnic status, physical health, mental health, life stressors (school, work, family) and any behavior disorders (moody, anxious, substance and eating abuse). Excluding behavior disorders, the researchers found just over 23% suffered from chronic insomnia. They also found insomnia more prevalent for those with poor health, dealing with life stressors and being female.

Girls have a 50% higher risk than boys for insomnia symptoms. The risk of development among teenage girls correlates with puberty. In fact, girls were 2.5 times more likely to experience insomnia after their first period. Boys that experience insomnia there was no association with their pubertal development. There was also no significant difference in insomnia common to their ethnicity or parents’ marital status.

The teens’ parents were interviewed regarding their children’s sleep habits and researchers where amazed that they typically didn’t know about insomnia symptoms. Although chronic insomnia should be treated by a physician, here are some tips and techniques to help your teenager get a better night’s sleep.

Help your teenage establish a regular bedtime schedule. They should get up every day and go to bed every night at the same time, even on the weekends. See: How Many Hours of Sleep Do Teenager Need for more information. If they do after school sports make sure they have enough time to wind down before going to bed (2-3 hours). A teenager’s bedroom environment should be focused only about them and their sleep. Make sure it is dark, cool, quiet, cozy and pet free. Take electronic distractions from the room, including their telephone or radio.

Insomnia symptoms may occur in teenagers in conjunction with any number of physical, psychological or environmental/behavioral causes, including: poor health habits, poor diet, lack of guidance, assertion of independence, depression, anxiety, stress and changes in home life. Insomnia symptoms can include other sleep disorders including restless leg syndrome (RLS) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Insomnia usually is caused by some other indicator that something is going on in the teen’s life and cannot be treated properly until you get to the root of the problem.

The National Sleep Foundation polled a number of teenagers and found that insomnia signs and symptoms are common, but they also discovered that almost 50% experienced stress and considered themselves depressed on a regular basis. Depression is a huge factor in insomnia and is fast becoming an epidemic in America. When teenagers are sleep deprived look and listen to these indicators; they complain about not being about to fall asleep, stay asleep or wake too early in the morning, irritable, aggressive, fall asleep during the day, eat a lot or too little, lack of focus and bad grades, clumsiness and absent or tardy at school, job or social activities.

Remember before your teenager’s insomnia can be treated a doctor must first diagnosis it and determine the cause for their sleep problem. For many teenagers making sleep and sleep habits a priority can relieve insomnia symptoms. But for those teenage suffering with chronic insomnia, they will need a more aggressive therapy prescribed by a physician or sleep specialist. If left untreated it can result in chronic adult insomnia. Chronic insomnia is when a person has insomnia at least three nights a week for a month or longer. Chronic insomnia could lead to diabetes, obesity, hypertension or heart disease.

The content provided in Symptoms of Insomnia in Teenagers is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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