Exhausted Teen? It’s Probably Social Media, Not Hormones

exhausted teens social media


Adolescents and teenagers seem to be tired all the time. Getting them up in the morning for school is a task, they sleep all day, then they seem to be up all night. Today’s adolescents and teens face more pressure than in previous generations, prepping for their resumes at earlier ages by taking on multiple extracurricular activities. When an adolescent or teen develops a chemical dependency problem with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, their exhaustion doubles. Masking hangovers, withdrawals, and constantly running from the truth of their addiction can be exhausting in addition to their failing mental, physical and spiritual health.

What our teens do in the night is a question which keeps many of us up, especially when our teens are not home. After we see our teens go to bed, and we see them wake up exhausted in the morning, we find ourselves still curious. Do they use and drink at home? Do they sneak out and come back? Youth Studies has published new research which indicates that along with probable causes of exhaustion for our addicted teens, social media may be the culprit. One in five teenagers between the ages of 12 to 15 years old use social media in the middle of the night. Waking up to go to the bathroom, have some water, or just restless sleep, teenagers are turning to their phones to mind their time.

Problematically, the blue light behind the screens of their technological devices is activating and stimulating their brain in a way which mimics daylight. Daylight, or synthetic daylight, reduces the brain’s production of melatonin. Melatonin is an important hormone in the brain for sleep as it dictates the natural circadian rhythm- when the sun sets and the day becomes night, for example, melatonin starts to produce, indicating to the brain it will soon be time for sleep. Additionally, multiple studies have found that the brain gets another dose of stimulation from the anticipation and validation of likes, comments, and other forms of positive feedback on social media.

Social media can become a compulsion, before and after addiction or addiction treatment. Is it possible the compulsion to check in and engage with social media is waking our teens from their sleep? Quite possibly. For parents, collecting phones at bedtime can be a helpful tool in helping to further form the adolescent brain for good habits in sleep and mental health. Online bullying, photoshopped images, and other triggers have proven to be harmful for adolescent mental health.


At Stonewater Adolescent Recovery, every client becomes a loved member of our family. Our remote location in beautiful Mississippi offers the distance and privacy adolescents need to fully recover from drug and alcohol addiction. For information on our treatment programs and detox services, call us today at 662-598-4214.