I Am Exhausted All of the Time

Published: March 01, 2017
Dear TeenHealthFX,
i am exhausted all the time. i know everyone says this and it doesn't sound like a big deal but it has gotten to a point where i dont think ive gotten a night of good rest for months. i go to sleep extremely early like around 8-8:30 because i get up for school at around 6. that's much more sleep than i used to get but i always wake up in the middle of the night and i always wake up exhausted with no motivation to get out of bed. i start getting tired super early and never feel like doing homework. i play sports but i always have n they've never effected me. what do i do
Signed: I Am Exhausted All of the Time

Dear I Am Exhausted All of the Time,

Adolescents generally need at least 9 hours of sleep per night to be alert and well-rested. Teens who do not get a sufficient amount of sleep can have difficulties focusing in school, and may even experience changes in mood and behavior. For some teens, the issue is not getting to bed early enough because of homework, part-time jobs, extra-curricular activities, screen time and more. For others teens, sleep is interrupted because of the use of electronic devices through the night.

As long as you are getting yourself to bed by 8:00/8:30pm, and you are not being woken up in the night by your phone or anything else, then there may be a medical or mental health issue going on. There are various medical and mental health issues that can interfere with sleep such as side effects from certain medications, insomnia, depression, sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. Any of these have the potential to interfere with your going through full sleep cycles and getting the rest that your body needs.

TeenHealthFX suggests that you talk to a parent/guardian about this so that an appointment can be scheduled with your primary care physician or an adolescent medicine specialist. Your doctor can give you a physical and get a better sense of your symptoms so that he/she can determine if there are any underlying medical or mental health issues. If you have any concerns about speaking to a parent/guardian about this, you can start by speaking to a school nurse or school counselor who can then provide you with some guidance and support on how to proceed so that you get the help you need. If you are dealing with depression or some kind of sleep disorder, effective treatment can definitely make a difference in your being able to sleep well at night.

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.

Click here for information from Atlantic Health System about pediatric sleep disorders.

Signed: TeenHealthFX