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Common Sleep Disorders in Teens - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

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Teenage sleep disorders that interfere with their sleep cycles have a detrimental effect on their day-to-day activities, health, and academic success.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Abhishek Juneja

Published At February 1, 2024
Reviewed AtFebruary 1, 2024


Teens are increasingly suffering from sleep problems, which interfere with their regular sleep cycles and have a detrimental effect on their everyday functioning, health, and academic performance. Social media use, inconsistent sleep habits, and academic demands are some of the reasons contributing to the rising prevalence of sleep disorders. To successfully address this developing concern, parents, educators, and healthcare professionals must comprehend the impact of sleep disturbances on teenagers' health and well-being.

What Is the Impact of Sleep Disorders on Teens?

Teenage sleep issues significantly impact their health and well-being, affecting emotional control, cognitive function, and physical development. Disturbed or insufficient sleep can lead to negative consequences such as impaired academic performance, lower grades, reduced productivity, and impaired learning capacity. Additionally, mood disorders like irritability, anxiety, and depression, which sleep issues can cause, can negatively impact a teenager's overall well-being. Therefore, teenagers must prioritize adequate sleep for their overall well-being.

What Are the Common Sleep Disorders in Teens?

Teenagers are frequently affected by a variety of sleep issues. There are a variety of causes, symptoms, and treatment modalities for these diseases. To offer the proper assistance and solutions, it is critical to identify and comprehend these diseases.

  • Insomnia: A sleep disorder known as insomnia is characterized by trouble getting to sleep, remaining asleep, or having non-restorative sleep. Teens who suffer from insomnia frequently find it difficult to stick to a normal sleep pattern, which can result in fatigue, daytime drowsiness, and attention problems.

  • Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and resumes while people are asleep. It can interfere with the regular sleep cycle and cause excessive daytime sleepiness and poor sleep quality. Loud snoring is frequently associated with it.

  • Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): The neurological condition known as restless legs syndrome (RLS) is characterized by a constant desire to move the legs, particularly when at rest or sleeping. This may make it difficult to fall asleep and cause sleep disturbances during the night.

  • Circadian Rhythm Disorders: These are caused by an internal body clock in teenagers that is not in line with their preferred sleep schedule. This may lead to problems sleeping at the appropriate time and excessive daytime drowsiness.

  • Narcolepsy: The neurological condition known as narcolepsy is characterized by excessive sleepiness during the day and unexpected episodes of falling asleep. Teens suffering from narcolepsy may also have cataplexy, a condition in which intense emotions cause an abrupt loss of muscular tone.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Common Sleep Disorders in Teens?

It is essential for the early detection and intervention of sleep disturbances in teenagers to recognize the warning signs and symptoms of these conditions. Although the precise symptoms may differ according to the type of sleep problem, the following are some usual warning signs to look for:

  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep.

  • Excessive fatigue or drowsiness during the day.

  • Emotional instability, mood swings, or irritability.

  • Inadequate focus and memory.

  • Reduced academic success.

  • During sleep, loud snoring or gasping for breath.

  • Uncontrollably restless or driven to move the legs.

  • Abrupt episodes of sleepiness or loss of muscular tone.

Teens must get medical attention for additional assessment and diagnosis if these symptoms worsen or continue interfering with everyday activities.

What Are the Causes and Risk Factors of Common Sleep Disorders in Teens?

Teens who have sleep difficulties may be at risk for several different conditions. Gaining an understanding of these elements can aid in locating possible triggers and creating focused interventions.

  • Lifestyle Factors: Teenage sleep disorders can arise as a result of irregular sleep cycles, excessive use of electronics before bed, and high levels of stress.

  • Biological Factors: Adolescent hormone fluctuations might have an impact on sleep patterns. Furthermore, allergies and asthma are two medical disorders that might interfere with sleep.

  • Mental Health Conditions: Sleep difficulties are more common in teenagers who suffer from anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions.

  • Environmental Factors: Adolescents may find it difficult to get sleep and stay asleep in noisy, bright, or uncomfortable sleeping situations.

  • Genetics: Teenagers with a family history of sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy, are more vulnerable due to the hereditary component of these conditions.

When treating teenage sleep disorders, it is critical to take these causes and risk factors into account because a multifaceted strategy for management and therapy may be necessary.

How to Diagnose and Treat Common Sleep Disorders in Teens?

When an adolescent exhibits symptoms of a suspected sleep disorder, a thorough assessment is required to identify the underlying reason and provide a personalized treatment strategy. A combination of the patient's medical history, physical examination, and sleep investigations is usually used to diagnose. Teenage sleep disorders can have a variety of treatment options, depending on the nature and severity of the disorder.

Typical methods include some of the following:

  • Changes in Behavior and Lifestyle: This could entail minimizing screen time, adopting relaxation techniques before bed, creating a sleep-friendly environment, and creating a regular sleep pattern.

  • Insomnia Treatment with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT-I): CBT-I is an organized treatment that assists patients in recognizing and altering negative attitudes and behaviors linked to sleep problems. For teenagers who suffer from sleeplessness, it may be a useful therapy choice.

  • Medication: Medication may occasionally be recommended to treat underlying medical issues causing sleep disturbances or relieve certain symptoms.

  • Treatment with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): Teens with sleep apnea are frequently treated with CPAP therapy. It includes putting on a mask attached to a device that continuously blows air into the mouth to keep the airway open as the patient sleeps.

To choose the best course of action based on each patient's unique requirements and preferences, medical practitioners must collaborate closely with teens and their families.

What Are the Strategies for Promoting Healthy Sleep Habits in Teens?

Some strategies include creating a sleep-friendly setting, promoting regular exercise, restricting screen time, and teaching relaxation techniques. Another is setting up a consistent sleep routine. A regular sleep routine, a quiet, cold bedroom, and removing electronics from the bedroom can all be beneficial. Frequent daytime exercise can help people sleep better at night, but avoiding it right before bed is best. Reducing screen time can also be beneficial, particularly in the hours before bed. Promoting healthy sleeping practices and preventing teen sleep disorders can be greatly aided by educators and parents.


Teenage sleep issues are becoming more of a concern because they affect their overall health and well-being. To properly address this developing concern, parents, educators, and healthcare professionals must thoroughly understand the types, symptoms, and causes of sleep disturbances. To ensure today's teens' academic, emotional, and physical development, it is imperative to prevent and manage sleep problems by promoting healthy sleep habits, controlling technology use, and creating a supportive atmosphere.

Dr. Abhishek Juneja
Dr. Abhishek Juneja



health concerns among teenagerssleep disorder
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