Sickle cell disease: How much sleep are you getting?

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Getting enough sleep is an important part of having healthy sleep habits and coping with pain. Find tips for creating a sleep schedule to help you get enough sleep.

Key points

  • To make sure you get the amount of sleep you need, think about what time you need to wake up in the morning, and then count back to figure out your ideal bedtime.
  • If you feel this bedtime is too early, consider whether you can spend less time getting ready in the morning or have a later start to your day.
  • It can take up to two months to make changes to your sleep habits and notice a difference in how it makes you feel.
  • Once you have picked your schedule, make sure to stick to it.

The other important part of having healthy sleep habits is getting enough sleep.

How many hours of sleep are you getting?

How many hours of sleep do you think you need?

5 hours

7 hours

9 hours

11 hours

Answer: Teens need about nine hours of sleep to function their best.

Many teens get only six to eight hours of sleep, but these people are not usually functioning at their best. Sometimes teens sleep longer when they don't feel well or have poor sleep habits, but they don't usually need 10 or more hours of sleep.

Weekdays

Let's start with weekdays. If you go to school, think about what time your school starts and what time you need to wake up so you can get to school on time. If you don't go to school, think about what time you need to be up to start your day.

Choose your wake time:

Next, count back nine hours to see what time you should get to bed the night before.

Your ideal bedtime on weekdays is:

Weekends

We just learned that bedtimes and wake times should not differ by more than one or two hours between weekdays and weekends. This means that your weekend schedule should have you getting up in the morning no more than two hours later than your normal weekday wake time.

Changing your sleep schedule

Teen girl lying on her stomach in bed and hugging a pillow under her head while smiling at the camera

You may be surprised by how early your ideal bedtime seems. Some teens have found that it is even earlier than their little brother's or sister's bedtime. Because getting enough sleep is so important for coping with pain, it's important to commit to working on this.

Depending on your current sleep schedule, it can take up to two months to make changes in your sleep habits and notice a difference in how you feel. Be patient and stick with the changes!

At some point, you will notice that you can make some exceptions, meaning that you may be able to stay up late on certain nights without feeling bad. This usually happens when someone has already worked hard to change their sleep schedule for the better.

How to get enough sleep

Teen boy sleeping on his side in bed with his hands up by his face on his pillow

There are two ways to reach the nine hours of sleep that you need. You can either:

  • go to bed earlier
  • sleep in later in the morning

Some teens choose to sleep in later in the morning. For instance, older students might arrange for a late start at school if they don't need the course credits.

If you need to make it to school at the usual start time, another choice is to spend less time getting ready in the morning. If you can sleep in 30 minutes later in the morning, your bedtime can shift to 30 minutes later and you will get the same amount of sleep.

It is also important to not waste time hitting the "snooze" button on your alarm clock. You will feel more rested if you allow yourself to sleep until the exact time that you need to wake up for the day.

You can try out different schedules to see what works for you. But once you pick your schedule, stick to it!

Last updated: January 4th 2024