Lately my sleep schedule is really messed up. I am a junior in high school and I know sleep is super important in keeping my grades up and finishing the year off strong, but I don't really control it anymore! When I get home from school, around 3, I am usually extremely exhausted. I try not to take a nap because i know i won't be able to sleep at night. But around 4:30-5 I can't take it anymore, it's like I can't focus on anything of do anything until I sleep. I can't keep my eyes open, I'm just soo tired! I usually end up going to bed, I used to take like 1 hour naps but they have turned into 2-3 hour naps. I wake up at 7 or 8 with energy, but hen 10 rolls around and i should be sleeping again, I can't sleep. I stay up between midnight and 1 just because I can't sleep. It's a vicious cycle that is turning into a real problem! Also on weekend I am extremely tired as well. Take for instance this weekend, I went to bed before 11 on Friday and woke up at 8 on Saturday which is strange because I usually sleep in way longer than that. By noon I couldn't stay awake, I went back to bed and slept until 5pm. I slept my entire day away! It's like I can't survive without naps anymore, I don't know how to fix it. I try keeping myself awake after school but I have to sleep otherwise I can't focus on my schoolwork and stay awake during it. Any advice?? -Messed up sleep schedule
It sounds like you are caught up in a problematic sleep cycle – you don’t get enough sleep at night, so you end up napping, but then your nap revives you so you aren’t tired enough to go to bed at a reasonable time for when you have to get up the next morning. That said, FX recommends you try and break the cycle. Take a few days without naps and then go to bed early enough that you will have had at least 8 hours of sleep by the time you need to wake up for school. And while you are trying to fix your sleep schedule, try and keep your hours of sleep consistent for the weekdays and weekends. It will be difficult to change this pattern because you will most likely have several days of feeling tired with giving up the naps. But it should be worth it in the end.
Once you have gotten on a better sleep schedule, if you ever need to nap FX suggests you do it right when you get home from school and not for more than an hour or so, so that you don’t throw off your nighttime schedule. Set your alarm or ask a family member to wake you up if you are afraid a 1 hour nap could turn into 2 or 3 hours.
In addition, consider alternate ways to energize yourself after school. You could have a healthy snack and/or you could do some light physical activity to perk yourself up. You could also hang out with friends or find some afterschool activity to get you through that time period. And don’t forget to eat breakfast and lunch – if you skip meals that could also be contributing to your fatigue in the afternoon.
If you find that you are unable to make any changes with your sleep pattern or you make the changes but aren’t feeling any better with time, then speak to your doctor about it. There are various medical and mental health issues that can contribute to fatigue that your doctor will want to evaluate if you continue to feel so exhausted.
If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.
If you think you may need professional intervention with this and you live in northern New Jersey you can also look into The Pediatric Sleep Disorders Center at Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown, NJ. Call 1-866-906-5666 for more information.
Teens often abuse prescription drugs because of the myth that these drugs provide a medically safe high.
It is estimated that major depressive disorder (MDD) affects about 5% of adolescents, and that between 10 - 15% of adolescents have some symptoms of depression at any one time.
Statistics show that giving a teen a credit card does not teach them to be financially responsible or to encourage self-restraint, but actually promotes a “spend now and deal with the consequences later” mindset.
Girls are more likely to intentionally abuse prescription drugs than boys.
The reality of excessive interest rates and fees that often accompany credit card use for teens, can put youngsters in a position where they are losing out on admission to graduate school, getting a job, or renting an apartment because of damaged credit history.
Less than 33% of teens with depression get help, yet 80% of teens with depression can be successfully treated if they seek help from a doctor or therapist.
Traffic crashes are the greatest single cause of death for all persons age 6-33, and about 45% of these fatalities are alcohol-related crashes.
About 6.2 million Americans get a new genital HPV infection each year.
30% of teens with depression also have a substance abuse problem.
Freshmen bring an average of $1,585.00 in credit card debt to college.
About a third of women who seek services related to unprotected sex, such as pregnancy testing or emergency contraception, do not receive STD counseling, testing, or treatment.
7-10% of college students will drop out of school because of credit problems.
Teens with untreated depression are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, leading to higher rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Most smokers begin smoking as teens, and the average age of initiation is 12.5 years of age.
People with manic symptoms and Bipolar Disorder II are at a significant risk of later developing an alcohol abuse or dependence problem.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for 36% of all deaths in this age group.
The teen pregnancy rate in the United States is the highest of any industrialized democracy, nearly twice that of Great Britain and 10 times that of Japan. 4
Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use, and male high school students are more likely than female students to rarely or never wear seat belts.
A national study of women ages 15-44 found that women were almost twice as likely to receive contraceptive services rather than STD services.
The teenage pregnancy rate in the U.S. is at its lowest level in thirty years, down 36% since its peak in 1990. Research suggests that both increased abstinence and positive changes in contraceptive practice are responsible these recent declines in teen pregnancy.
A sexually active teenager who does not use contraceptives has a 90% chance of becoming pregnant within one year. 8
In the United States, at least 5-10 million girls and women and 1 million boys and men are struggling with eating disorders. 11
Among male drivers between 15 and 20 years of age who were involved in fatal crashes in 2005, 38% were speeding at the time of the crash and 24% had been drinking.
Homicide is the second leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds overall. 16
Every two minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted. 22
One in four teenage girls in the U.S. had at least one common sexually transmitted disease.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youths ages 15 to 20. 19
The highest Chlamydia rates occurred among women ages 15 to 19 and 20 to 24.
About 44% of rape victims are under age 18. Three out of every twenty victims (15%) are under age 12. 25
Each year, half of all HIV infections are among people under the age of 25.
Crash risk is particularly high during the first year that teenagers are eligible to drive.
One out of every six American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. A total of 17.7 million women have been victims of these crimes. 23
Teen girls ages 15-19 have the highest Gonorrhea rate of any age group.
The motor vehicle death rate for male drivers and passengers ages 16-19 is more than one and half times that of their female counterparts.
More than four in 10 young women become pregnant at least once before they reach the age of 20 - nearly one million teen pregnancies a year 3
The presence of teen passengers increases the crash risk of unsupervised teen drivers; the risk increases with the number of teen passengers.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in this country. More than 400,000 Americans die from tobacco-related causes each year, and most of them began using tobacco before the age of 18.
The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16- to 19-year-olds than among any other age group.
Underage drinking costs the U.S. more than $58 billion every year; enough to buy every public school student a state-of-the-art computer.
At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash is greater for teens than for older drivers.
Teens who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crimes and sexual assault, have serious problems in school, be involved in drinking-related traffic crashes, and develop problems with alcohol later in life.
Nearly all the poison deaths in the U.S. are attributed to drugs, and most drug poisonings result from the abuse of prescription and illegal drugs.
Alcohol kills 6.5 times more youth than all other illicit drugs combined.
Persons aged 15-24, who represent only 14% of the U.S. population, account for 30% ($19 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28% ($7 billion) among females.
Among young people ages 12-17, prescription drugs have become the second most abused illegal drug, behind marijuana.