O ne important brain change that occurs in the teen brain is how sleep patterns are modified after puberty. Sleep patterns change during adolescence because the brain’s circadian system (biological clock) changes. This occurs as a result of a complex dynamic interaction between genetically determined brain development and the impact of the environment. During the teen years the usual childhood pattern of ‘getting up early and going to bed early’ changes, to a ‘go to bed late and get up late’ pattern. This natural change in circadian rhythm is accentuated by the teen environment.
Teens are often awash in bright lights late at night, electronic and social stimulation that keep them active into the wee hours, and weekend gatherings that push well into early morning. These factors all converge to set a new go-to-sleep-late and wake-up-late cycle. These changes can lead to challenges for you and your teen.
For more information visit the toolbox and read the Healthy Sleeping resource.