Aged 12 to 21? Then You’re Probably Not Getting Enough Sleep

In this article, I will tell you about the impact of sleep deprivation, and how you can improve your quality of sleep moving forward.

By Ellen, London · March 13, 2019

Sleeping cat

Pic: Unsplash Creative Commons / Lauren-Kay

Are you aged 12-2? If so, in this transition from child to adulthood, you may be one of the many people in this age category who suffer from sleep deprivation. This can be caused by many things, such as stress or anxiety.


What is sleep deprivation?

Sleep deprivation is the condition of simply not getting enough sleep. The reasons why can vary widely.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) states that four of the main symptoms are

  • You don’t get enough hours sleep per night (average 7.5 hours)

  • You tend to sleep at the wrong time of the day (not in sync with your body clock)

  • You don’t sleep well or get all of the different types of sleep that your body needs

  • You have a sleep disorder that prevents you from getting enough sleep or causes poor quality sleep.

Just like drinking and eating, sleeping is a fundamental human need. Just like we need those things, we need sleep also.

What causes lack of sleep?

Sleep deficiency can be caused by many things, including stress, mental health disorders and anxiety.

Medication can also be to blame, including cold and flu medications that contain alcohol, and pain relievers that contain caffeine.


What are the effects of sleep deficiency?

Not getting your full 7-9 hours sleep per night can cause problems for your body and health in the future.  You might find it hard to concentrate, so have a car crash or other accident, or you might find you have a decreased attention span. This could impact how you perform at school and in exams. Memory loss, heart problems, weight gain and skin damage are other common issues.


What can help me get more sleep?

Sleeping peacefully may sound impossible when you are wide awake at 3am stressing about the time you have to wake up!

However, there are things you can do to improve your sleep performance. Although sleep deficiency cannot always be completely curable, these tips may help you.

Although reaching for your phone/device may seem like an automatic reflex, step away! Excessive screen time can reduce the amount of sleep you get. You can quickly check a social media site and all of a sudden its 2am, and you are still not asleep. Take my advice, put down the device!



Try creating a sleep timetable. Having a specific bedtime every day can help your sleep cycle immensely. Maybe try waking up at the same time every day so you can get exactly the same amount of sleep every night. Even on the weekends!

Also, think more carefully about what you are eating and drinking, especially just before bed. Limit your caffeine, alcohol, refined carbs and sugar intake! These can cause hyperactive behaviour or interrupted sleep during the night. It can cause your brain to be really active when it’s time to rest and recharge.


Think about the kind of room you’re using to sleep in. Is it the right temperature? Is it dark? Quiet? If not, could you use an eye mask or earplugs?

Lastly, limit your daytime naps. Long daytime naps can interfere with night-time sleep. If you choose to nap, don’t let yourself sleep for more 30 minutes and avoid doing so late afternoon onwards.