your teen. There are the bags under the eyes, the constant yawning, the dozing off at inappropriate times. But many sleep deficit symptoms are not quite so recognizable. For instance, we talked in Chapter 2 about the fact that many exhausted teens get headaches, but if you hadn’t read that chapter you probably wouldn’t have thought, “Lots of headaches. It could be sleep deprivation.”

To give you a better picture of what a sleep-deprived teen might look like, the following list names the top 13 symptoms my adolescent patients exhibit:

  • Yawning

  • Falling asleep at inappropriate times

  • Trouble getting out of bed in the morning

  • Taking more than 20 minutes to fall asleep at night

  • Frequent headaches

  • Sallow skin

  • Bags under the eyes

  • Irritability bordering on hostility

  • Clumsiness

  • Lack of verbal output (doesn’t talk very much)

  • Doesn’t respond to questions (I have to repeat them)

  • Sullenness

  • Has a low mood or is depressed (occasionally the opposite, giddiness, can be seen)

In addition, many adolescent patients’ grades deteriorate, and they’re also often tardy or absent from school. (Luckily, some school administrators and counselors now associate sleep deprivation with reduced school performance and absenteeism and recommend that chronically tardy and underperforming students seek help. However, recently I saw an 11th grader who had been arrested for truancy despite his mom calling to report that he was home asleep.)

Even knowing all this, though, it can be hard to tell if your teen is exhibiting some of the symptoms because of teens’ outstanding ability to mask themselves with their makeup and fashion statements. But here a photo can help. Take a look at a photo of your teen from a year



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