5 Things You Should Know: Teens and Sleep

#1 - When There's a Bigger Problem at Hand

While sleep debt or partial sleep deprivation may be attributed to late night studying and early morning homeroom, sometimes a teenager's daytime drowsiness is a symptom of a bigger problem, such as sleep apnea or depression.

Sleep apnea is a condition where the throat muscles collapse and block air from moving through the nose and windpipe. It interferes with breathing and with sleep quality. A doctor can diagnose sleep apnea fairly quickly.

Teens suffering from depression will commonly also suffer from too much sleep or insomnia. Insomnia, though, may also be due to side effects from prescription medications to treat depression or other disorders such as ADD. Additionally, overuse of over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines can all impact the quality and quantity of sleep. As can stress.

The best solution is to communicate openly with your teen to find out if there is a larger issue that's affecting their sleep patterns. You might be able to get to the root of the problem faster than you think.