What's the Best Bedtime for a Teenager? (2024)

Parents of teenagers know that the days of putting your child to bed at 8 p.m. are long gone. Now, you’re lucky if your teenager falls asleep before midnight. As a 13-year-old transitions from being a pre-teen, it’s natural for them to stay up later.

Teen biological sleep patterns shift towardlater sleeping and waking time during adolescence. At the same time, with busy lifestyles and plenty of activities, there's a good chance your teen is not getting the proper rest.

This article looks at ways that parents can help teens get the right amount of sleep, keeping them healthier today while instilling good sleep habits that may last across a lifetime.

What's the Best Bedtime for a Teenager? (1)

Sleep That Teens Need

Teens often don't get the optimal eight to 10 hours of sleep recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Early school start times are one reason. Medical professionals and school administrators debate the pros and cons of starting school later.

At home, you can try to solve the problem by first knowing the time your teen needs to wake up in the morning to get to school or an early sports practice. Then subtract eight to 10 hours, give or take an hour, and you'll estimate an ideal bedtime.

It may not seem realistic, and you probably won't find your 13-year-old headed off to bed as soon as the sun goes down. But if you know there's a 6:30 a.m. wake-up alarm, you can set a bedtime of 9:30 p.m. or so, and help by teaching your teen good sleep habits that will last a lifetime.

How Much Sleep Does Your Teen Need?

The Importance of Sleep for Teens

Everyone needs a good amount of sleep each night, but the teen years are an especially important time to be getting that rest. Health benefits of appropriate sleep include:

  • Helping to maintain a healthy weight
  • Keeping hormones in balance, including those key to metabolism
  • Managing blood pressure and preventing diabetes
  • Regulating mood and mental health (while limiting depression and other disorders)
  • Improved attention, learning, and memory
  • Protecting the immune system and preventing illness

Your teenager might think they are almost an adult, but their brain isn’t fully developed yet. Because of that, they may be more likely to take risks and make poor decisions. Teen health risks can be made worse by not getting enough sleep.

Should Your Teen Still Sleep With Parents?

Most children aren't co-sleeping with their parents at the age of 13. There's limited research on teens, but a study of 113 school-aged kids (up to age 12) found it steadily more rare as young kids aged toward their teen years. Anxiety was a big factor, though: More than a third of anxious kids sought comfort in sleeping with a parent or sibling.

An Overview of the Link Between Mental Health and Sleep Disorders

What Is a Good Bedtime for 13-Year-Olds?

Parents and caregivers often wonder if it is still appropriate to give a teenager a definitive bedtime. The answer depends on your teen and your situation. A 13-year-old may need more help going to sleep at an appropriate hour, and parents can help. A 17-year-old shouldn’t need as many reminders about good sleep habits.

Rather than give an older teen a strict bedtime, it's better to educate your teen. Let them know how much sleep their growing body needs, and how melatonin, circadian rhythms, and other sleep-regulating functions work in teen bodies. Keep the focus on planning their schedules and encouraging a healthy bedtime hour, rather than strictly enforcing it.

For teens who still aren’t motivated to go to sleep at a reasonable hour, establish some rules. For example, you can tell your teen they can’t drive the car unless you’re sure they had plenty of sleep the night before. Explain that driving while tired is a common cause of teen car crashes, a leading cause of teen death and injury in the United States.

Make sure your teen knows that being too tired isn’t a badge of honor. Students often seem to pride themselves on staying up all night to study for exams or to play video games with their friends. They may brag about getting only five hours of sleep and seem to think depriving their bodies of rest is a sign of strength.

5 Simple Tips to Improve Teen Sleep Habits

Encouraging a Teen to Go to Sleep

There are other rules you can make and steps you can take to help your teen get enough rest. Some or all of these parenting tips and strategies may help to encourage healthy sleep patterns.

Confiscate All Electronic Devices

At 9 p.m. each night, collect smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Keep them in a basket in a common area of the house (or if your teen is prone to sneaking them back, in your bedroom).

Too often, teens stay up late connecting with friends or browsing the Internet, and the light from the screens interferes with their quality of sleep. Do yourself a favor and toss your phone in that basket, too.

How Screen Light From Devices Affects Your Sleep

Discourage Caffeine Use

Instead of serving soda or other caffeinated drinks, have your teen try to drink only milk or water for dinner. Even sipping on sports or energy drinks after school can affect a teen’s sleep.

Keep energy drinks and caffeinated sodas out of the house, and discourage your teen from drinking coffee. If they need caffeine to get through the day, then they probably need more sleep overall.

Effects of Caffeine on Teenagers

Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment

A bedroom should be dark and cool. Set a small light by the bed in case your teen likes to read before sleep. The mattress and pillow should be comfortable. Take TVs out of bedrooms—this room should be for sleep only, and the environment should reflect that goal.

Keep Sleep Schedules on Weekends

Many teens shift sleep patterns on the weekend and doze until noon or later. A 2022 study of myths about teen sleep found that 74% of parents and caregivers said it was "no big deal" for teens to shift sleep patterns on the weekends. But this leads to "social jet lag" and can contribute to mental health symptoms, risky behaviors, and problems in school, so keeping the routine is important.

Why You Should Keep a Consistent Bedtime Every Night

Make a Set Bedtime

Make sure your teen knows that you expect them to be in bed by 9:30 p.m. with the lights out by 10:00, or whatever times allow for the right amount of sleep. Being consistent about your bedtime expectation can help them to meet it. At the same time, limit any daytime naps that disrupt sleep patterns.

Is Too Much Napping Bad For Your Health?

Be a Good Role Model

Your teen may not be the only one who's not getting enough rest. If you always fall asleep on the couch while watching TV in the evening, or if you struggle to wake up in the morning, your teen is likely to follow suit. Show your teen that you think it's important to get the right amount of sleep by going to bed at a reasonable time.

Keep in mind the health benefits of sleep for your teen, and remember that healthy diet and exercise habits during the day can support better sleep, too. Research shows 30 minutes of exercise each day can improve a person’s sleep quality.

The Health Benefits of Exercise


Many teens aren't getting enough sleep, and that may come as no surprise to adults who never get enough sleep either. But the teen years are an important time to cultivate good sleep habits. It's one of the reasons for parents to set a good example now, and to teach a 13-year-old the techniques they'll need to know across a lifetime in order to be well-rested.

Setting a bedtime is one strategy. Encourage your teen to plan for proper sleep by heading to bed early, avoiding social media and other disruptions, and keeping their sleep schedule consistent. Talk with them about the health benefits, including information about how sleep is regulated in their bodies and sleep-related changes to their physical and mental wellness.

With better sleep, your teen will be a healthier and happier person and may perform better in class and at sports. If you think a health issue is disrupting your teen's sleep, contact your healthcare provider.

What's the Best Bedtime for a Teenager? (2024)


What's the Best Bedtime for a Teenager? ›

In most teens, melatonin levels don't rise until about 10:30 or 11 p.m., so they aren't sleepy before then. But going to bed at that time means teens should ideally sleep until about 7:30 or 8 a.m. This isn't an option for many because of school start times.

What is a good bedtime routine for a 15 year old? ›

Going to bed at the same time every night helps the body expect sleep. Creating a set bedtime routine can enhance this relaxation effect. So unwind every night by reading, listening to music, spending time with a pet, writing in a journal, meditating, or doing anything else that relaxes you. Expect a good night's sleep ...

Should a 15 year old have a set bedtime? ›

Setting a bedtime is one strategy. Encourage your teen to plan for proper sleep by heading to bed early, avoiding social media and other disruptions, and keeping their sleep schedule consistent.

What is the best sleep time for 16 year old? ›

Most teens need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. Getting the right amount of sleep is important for anyone who wants to do well on a test or play their best in sports. Unfortunately, many teens don't get enough sleep.

What time should an 18 year old go to bed? ›

8 - 12 p.m.

What bed should a 15 year old have? ›

If you have space, a small double is a great sized bed for a teen. Not only will it accommodate any growth spurts but small doubles do often feature storage solutions.

What is a healthy sleep time for a 15 year old? ›

How much sleep someone needs depends on their age. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has recommended that children aged 6–12 years should regularly sleep 9–12 hours per 24 hours and teenagers aged 13–18 years should sleep 8–10 hours per 24 hours.

What time should a 15 year old be home at night? ›

While some parents rely on a set curfew, others make the rules fit he circ*mstances. For example, if your teen gets home from after-school activities at 7 p.m., a weekday curfew of 10 p.m. may make sense. On the weekends, maybe 11 p.m. is a more reasonable time. It depends on your family's schedule and your child.

Do high schoolers need a bedtime? ›

Providing a bedtime routine is just as important for teenagers as it is for children. According to the AAP, teens aged 13 to 18 should have between 8-10 hours of sleep. Sleep is important for a teenager's mental, physical, and emotional health.

Why do teens stay up late? ›

The body releases the sleep hormone melatonin later at night in teens than in kids and adults. This resets the body's internal sleep clock so that teens fall asleep later at night and wake up later in the morning.

What is teen fatigue syndrome? ›

CFS is a chronic (long-lasting) condition that makes people feel very tired and weak. They can also have headaches, dizziness, or other physical symptoms. Sometimes they have emotional symptoms too, like anger or sadness. Different people with CFS can have different symptoms.

Is it OK to get 7 hours of sleep for a 16 year old? ›

Sleep research suggests that a teenager needs between eight and 10 hours of sleep every night. This is more than the amount a child or an adult needs. Yet most adolescents only get about 6.5 – 7.5 hours sleep per night, and some get less. Regularly not getting enough sleep leads to chronic sleep deprivation.

Why is my 17 year old daughter so tired all the time? ›

Unexplained fatigue in teens is common and is probably related to the combination of rapid physical and psychological change, which can leave some teens feeling exhausted.

Is sleeping from 10pm to 4am good? ›

This is due to your body's understanding of day and night. Dr Solanki, much like any expert on sleep, links your circadian rhythm with optimum quality of sleep. Dr Madhusudan Singh Solanki “The window of 10 pm to 4 am mostly correlates with a major part of the circadian rhythm of sleep for most individuals.

Does a 17 year old need a bedtime? ›

3-5 years old: should go to sleep between 7:00 and 8:00 pm. 6-12 years old: should go to sleep between 7:30 and 8:30 pm. 13-18 years old: should go to sleep around 10:00 pm. Bare in mind that once puberty hits, it will be difficult for teenagers to fall asleep until around 11 pm.

How early is too early to go to bed? ›

School-age children should go to bed between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. Teens should try to go to bed between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. Adults should try to go to sleep between 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.

What is the best time for a 15 year old to wake up? ›

“If you're 13 to 15 you should be in school at 10am, so that means you're waking up at 8am. They don't get to do that, but that's the one that fits in with their biological clocks.” In an ideal world, teenagers aged between 17 and 20 should be in bed by midnight and wake up at 11am.

When to stop milk before bed? ›

Pediatric experts unanimously recommend discontinuing the bedtime bottle around the age of 12 months (adjusted). This means that if your baby was born before 40 weeks, you would use their due date to determine when they're ready to give up that nightly bottle.

What is a good bedtime routine? ›

Your bedtime routine can include transforming your bedroom into a sleep oasis, making things as cool, dark, and quiet as possible. Set the thermostat to somewhere between 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn off any noisy electronics. Dim the lights and pull down your blackout curtains.

Should parents set bedtimes? ›

Research shows that children who follow bedtime routines are more likely to go to sleep earlier, take less time falling asleep, sleep longer, and wake up less during the night. These benefits to sleep quality are still seen years later.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dean Jakubowski Ret

Last Updated:

Views: 6181

Rating: 5 / 5 (50 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dean Jakubowski Ret

Birthday: 1996-05-10

Address: Apt. 425 4346 Santiago Islands, Shariside, AK 38830-1874

Phone: +96313309894162

Job: Legacy Sales Designer

Hobby: Baseball, Wood carving, Candle making, Jigsaw puzzles, Lacemaking, Parkour, Drawing

Introduction: My name is Dean Jakubowski Ret, I am a enthusiastic, friendly, homely, handsome, zealous, brainy, elegant person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.