teens losing sleep is a health danger

Teens Losing Sleep is a Health Danger

Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills, CA

If you live with a teenager, you probably deal with the challenge of waking them up in the morning. It seems like many teenagers want to sleep in whenever they get the chance. Despite this stereotype, many teenagers actually persist in this behavior because they are sleep deprived. Let’s take a deeper look at sleep loss among teens, and why this is a significant health danger.

Good sleep is important, at any age

Failure to get the proper amount of quality sleep on a regular basis can affect your teen in significant ways. Sleep loss may manifest symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, irritability, mood swings, excessive daytime fatigue, and poor performance in school or at work. Teens who are sleep deprived also may show a disinterest in sports and hobbies that they previously enjoyed.

If the cause of sleep loss is not addressed, the problems only get worse. Long-term consequences of sleep loss include cognitive decline and an overall decline in physical health. Eventually, systemic and chronic ailments can develop that your teen may be battling for the remainder of their adult life.

Medical research has been done on the phenomenon of sleep loss in teenagers. A recent study examined the sleep patterns of teens before and after they contracted common illnesses such as the flu, the common cold, and an upset stomach. Researchers recorded the sleep schedule and sleep times of each participant, how many episodes of each illness were experienced by each patient, the total amount of sleep they got, how long they were sick, and how many school absences each reported.

The data revealed some interesting findings. Namely, that teens who maintained regular sleep schedules and bedtimes had fewer sick days at school. Also, teens who tried to sleep in on weekends to compensate for lost sleep during the week experienced about as many health problems as teenagers who regularly had poor sleep habits. Teens who failed to get the recommended amount of sleep on a regular basis got sick more often, missed more days of school, and were more susceptible to developing a serious illness.

The risks of sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea can be the cause of sleep loss, and it is more common than you may think. The latest data released by the National Institute of Health indicates that more than 10 million Americans suffer from this serious sleep breathing disorder. Patients with sleep apnea experience blockages in their airway when they sleep. These blockages cause repeated interruptions of sleep due to a lack of oxygen in the body. A person with an advanced, untreated case of sleep apnea may experience these interruptions hundreds of times per night.

Parents should educate themselves about the signs of sleep apnea. These include loud snoring, excessive fatigue during the day no matter how early they go to bed, an unexplained decline in grades, or mood swings. Snoring is considered the major warning sign of sleep apnea but if you notice any combination of these symptoms in your teen, schedule an appointment with your Agoura Hills sleep apnea dentists at Integrative Dental Arts. Sleep apnea dentists have the unique training to identify and address problems with the airway. By addressing these issues, a case of sleep apnea can be treated, and your teen can finally get the restful sleep they need.

Sleep Apnea Dentists in Westlake Village

To learn more about sleep apnea and treatment methods, please call the office of Integrative Dental Arts today at (818) 889-0400 to schedule a consultation.

At Integrative Dental Arts, we are proud to serve the oral health needs of patients living and working in the areas of Agoura Hills and Westlake Village in southern California.