EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 12, 2014

Sleepy teen may just need sleep

Dear Doctor,

I am worried about sleeping. This year we have noticed our oldest of three, a 16-year-old boy, is coming home and sleeping an hour or two in the afternoon. He does get up, does his homework, and seems to be OK otherwise.

We can’t figure out the reason for the change in habits and if he might be depressed. Is this normal for boys his age?


Dear Awake,

For many adolescent boys the age of your son it can be normal.

Your question really is: “Is he depressed or is something else going on.” Let me give you a check list of things to watch for.

How is he doing in school? Have his grades dropped?

Has there been a noticeable reduction in desire to do things such as hang out with friends or play sports etc.?

Has he changed his group of friends lately?

Does he have a marked reduction in energy level?

Is his attitude sad, dour, and negative?

If many of these are answered with “yes,” you might want to investigate further.

On the other hand keep in mind teen-aged boys can be much like polar bears or a pleasant large dog. Energy is going into growing. While they may have plenty of pizzazz to socialize or play, they find down time exhausting.

By the way, have you asked him what is going on? That might be a good place to start.


Email Dr. Larry Larsen at lrryllrsn@CS.com.

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