Dear Dr. Wallace:
I’m 16 and love my sleep. Now that I’m on holiday break, I’d like to sleep until noon, even if I go to bed before midnight. I’m trying to make up for all the sleep I lost during the school year because I had an 8 a.m. class.
My parents think that I’m lazy. How much sleep is enough for an active teen?
— Sleepyhead Who Loves My Bed, Ames, Iowa
Dear Sleepy Head: It’s true that teens need more sleep than adults because of their rapid growth spurts. But sleep cannot be stored by the body in the same manner that food can (in the form of fat). So excess rest (more than the body needs) can be counterproductive. Ten hours of sleep in a 24-hour period should be sufficient! I trust you will be quite rested with this much sleep. If you do feel fatigued even after 10-plus hours of sleep or experience ongoing tiredness in a major way, please seek medical attention. A good medical professional can guide you through some initial tests to see if there is potentially an underlying problem. And if there isn’t, then you’ll have peace of mind.