How Much Sleep Do Teenagers Need to Feel Rested by Age?

Sleep Deprivation Occurs When Inadequate Hours of Sleep Are Obtained

Teenagers need more sleep than adults on average
Teenagers need more sleep than adults on average. Getty Images

Perhaps you are a parent concerned about your sleepy teenager or maybe you're a teenager yourself. Either way you may be wondering: How much sleep do teens need to feel rested based on age? Sleep needs change through adolescence and getting enough rest may help teens to function at their best.

Determining How Much Sleep Teens Need

The various transitions during adolescence from a child to an adult also include changes in your sleep.

The amount of sleep that you need decreases as you get older; your sleep habits begin to resemble those of adults. On average, most teenagers need 8 to 10 hours (minimum) of sleep to feel rested, but the specific needs vary somewhat based on age and predisposition.

Beyond age, there are other factors to consider as well. Even among adults, some people need more or less sleep, based on genetics and other factors. If you awaken feeling rested, and you don’t take naps or feel excessive daytime sleepiness, you're probably getting an adequate amount of sleep. As teens get older, they may approach the average sleep needed by adults, which is estimated to average between 7 to 9 hours for the majority of people.

In order to determine your personal sleep need, try to keep a consistent wake time and get 15 to 30 minutes of morning sunlight upon awakening. Then, simply go to bed when you are feeling sleepy.

Try to spend the last 30 to 60 minutes before bed doing something relaxing, like reading or listening to some music. If possible, avoid exposure to artificial light in the hour preceding bed and don't use phones or other technology in the bed.

Recommended Sleep Needs by Age for Teenagers Based on Age

It is a little difficult to give a sweeping recommendation for all teenagers based solely on age.

Teens go through puberty at different ages. A teen who enters puberty earlier or later will also reach the average adult sleep needs at different times accordingly. In general the following recommendations are suggested based on the average sleep needs for most teens:

  • 13 year old: >9 hours
  • 14 year old: 9 hours
  • 15 year old: 8 hours and 45 minutes
  • 16 year old: 8 1/2 hours
  • 17 year old: 8 hours and 15 minutes
  • 18 year old: 8 hours
  • 19 year old: 8 hours

Importantly, no matter the age, a teenager simply needs to be given the opportunity to obtain adequate hours to rest. It is not necessary (or helpful) to lie awake in bed to simply meet the hours summarized above. If allowed an adequate period of time to sleep, a teenager should fall asleep easily (in less than 15 to 20 minutes) and wake feeling rested. The body knows when to make someone feel sleepy, just like it knows when to make someone feel hungry. If a teen is not sleeping enough, it should be apparent, with falling asleep very quickly, waking feeling unrefreshed, and feeling sleepy during the day.

The Consequences of Inadequate Sleep in Teens

For those adolescents who obtain less sleep than they need, they may begin to accumulate sleep debt. This often leads to "catching up" on sleep by sleeping in on the weekends. In addition, many teens (perhaps as many as 10 percent) experience delayed sleep phase syndrome, which is a desire to stay up late and sleep in. This may cause insomnia and difficulty getting up in time for school. There is also specific sleep advice for teens that addresses their particular needs.

Make sure your teen gets enough sleep to feel rested and you will be pleasantly surprised by their mood, attitude, and school performance during the day. If struggles with sleep persist, speak with your pediatrician about ways that sleep may be improved and to identify any coexisting sleep disorders.


Adams, SK et al. "Adolescent Sleep and Cellular Phone Use: Recent Trends and Implications for Research." Health Serv Insights. 2013; 6:99-103.

Carskadon MA. "Patterns of sleep and sleepiness in adolescents." Pediatrician. 1990; 17(1):5-12.

Durmer, JS et al. "Pediatric Sleep Medicine". Continuum. Neurol 2007; 13(3):153-200.

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