There is a growing body of evidence that teenagers do not get enough sleep. If your adolescent children are falling asleep during study hall, or coming home and napping, you may be experiencing the growing issue of teens' sleep deprivation firsthand. Ideally, teenagers need eight to ten hours of sleep each night. However, most teenagers are fond of staying up late finishing homework assignments (or texting and IMing their friends or surfing the web or reading or watching television). They are also required to rise very early for high school. This (late to bed and early to rise), as you can well imagine, is not a good combination at all. In fact, it can be a set-up for failure: academic difficulties, mood swings, health problems, etc.

When you consider today's teens, sleep deprivation may appear to be the least of their concerns. But this is a dangerous assumption to make, because no matter what age we are, both the amount and the quality of our sleep inevitably have an enormous impact on our productivity, our outlook on life, the way we feel, the way we think, and just about every other aspect of our health and daily functioning.

In addition, teenagers, just like many adults who struggle with insomnia, often experience excessive energy boosts and "racing thoughts" just when they are trying to fall asleep. If you remember your own teenage years, then you surely recall how emotionally complicated they can be at times. Teens' sleep deprivation is sometimes rooted in these bedtime moments when their minds turn to what this one said to that one or who likes whom, and so on and so forth.

If you are worried about your own teens' sleep deprivation, you may want to pay closer attention to when they are falling asleep and waking up. You may also want to take them to see their doctor to determine if any insomnia treatments might be helpful and/or necessary.

Teens are very busy (even overscheduled in some cases), and because they are so over-stimulated during the day, they often have trouble "winding down" and falling asleep at night. Help them try to establish a regular sleep routine (just as you would with younger children). And urge them to stay offline and not listen to music or watch television after a certain time in the evening, as all of these factors can keep teens up at night. Urge them to get their physical exercise at any time except just prior to going to bed. And work with your sleepless teens on relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing.

Talk to them honestly about the problems caused by sleep deprivation. Teens tend to respond well to candid, straight-to-the-point discussions about topics that affect them directly. Don't sugarcoat the issue or brush it under the proverbial rug. Let them know that they are not the only teenagers suffering from this problem and that all the evidence indicates that many of their peers are also struggling to get enough sleep.

Most important of all, let them know how much you care, how much you are rooting for them to overcome this extremely frustrating obstacle, and how much you (and any involved medical professionals) are going to work together as a team to solve this nagging problem.

In addition to establishing a sleep routine to combat their sleep deprivation, teens can take several other steps to solve this problem. For instance, they can avoid caffeine completely, or at the very least, they can avoid consuming it after a certain time of day. If they like to exercise they can make an effort to exercise at any time of day except immediately prior to bedtime. They can try their hardest to finish their homework in the afternoon, and also to limit their own computer, music and television time in the evenings. Talk to them frequently about balance and about the importance of relaxing and de-stressing, especially at night. Some teenagers are even open to the idea of practicing Yoga (or using special breathing techniques or mediation) to relax and calm down at night