Active teenagers have high energy needs because their bodies are still growing and they need energy to enable processes of growing and reconstruction in the body. Also, energy needs are proportional to physical activity.
In many respects, the nutrient and energy needs of teenagers are higher than those of any other age group. Healthy young people have large appetites and it’s important that you eat food of high nutritional value in the form of well-balanced meals rather than too many snacks that are rich in fat, sugar or salt.
It’s recommended that active teenagers engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. The UK department of health recommends that young people (aged five to 18) should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day.
Self-help tips to fight tiredness:
Many cases of tiredness are due to stress, not enough sleep, poor diet and other lifestyle factors. Try these self-help tips to restore your energy levels.
If you feel you’re suffering from fatigue, which is an overwhelming tiredness that isn’t relieved by rest and sleep, you may have an underlying medical condition. Consult a GP for advice.
Eat often to beat tiredness– A good way to keep up your energy through the day is to eat regular meals and healthy snacks every 3 to 4 hours, rather than a large meal less often.
Get moving– You might feel that exercise is the last thing on your mind. But, in fact, regular exercise will make you feel less tired in the long run, so you’ll have more energy. Even a single 15-minute walk can give you an energy boost, and the benefits increase with more frequent physical activity. Start with a small amount of exercise. Build it up gradually over weeks and months until you reach the recommended goal of 2 hours 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as cycling or fast walking, every week.
Sleep well – Many people don’t get the sleep they need to stay alert through the day.
Stress uses up a lot of energy. Try to introduce relaxing activities into your day. This could be:
- working out at the gym
- yoga or tai chi
- listening to music or reading
- spending time with friends
- Whatever relaxes you will improve your energy.
Occupational Therapy and Talking Therapies beat fatigue – There’s some evidence that other therapies such as counselling, occupational therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) might help to reduce fatigue, or tiredness caused by stress, anxiety or low mood. See a GP for a referral for talking therapies or other therapy intervention on the NHS, or for advice on seeing a private therapist.
Cut out caffeine – The Royal College of Psychiatrists recommends that anyone feeling tired should cut out caffeine. It says the best way to do this is to gradually stop having all caffeine drinks over a 3-week period. Try to stay off caffeine completely for a month to see if you feel less tired without it. You may find that not consuming caffeine gives you headaches. If this happens, cut down more slowly on the amount of caffeine that you drink.
Drink less alcohol – Although alcohol in the evening can help you fall asleep, you sleep less deeply after drinking alcohol. The next day you’ll be tired, even if you sleep a full 8 hours. Cut down on alcohol before bedtime. You’ll get a better night’s rest and have more energy.
Drink more water for better energy – Sometimes you feel tired simply because you’re mildly dehydrated. A glass of water will do the trick, especially after exercise.
The problem with energy drinks
Up to a third of UK children – mostly young teens – consume at least one energy drink a week, while some are having them almost daily, new research suggests.
Those who drink lots may get headaches and sleep problems, warn the authors of a report in the BMJ Open. High consumption is also linked to worse educational outcomes. Many shops already stop under-16s from buying the drinks, which can be high in caffeine, sugar and other stimulants. A single can might contain more caffeine than an espresso.
It’s important to note that hyperactivity in teenagers can be a normal part of their development. Children with ADHD often outgrow their hyperactivity by the time they’re teens. When hyperactivity continues, it can look different in teens. As their brain matures, teens with ADHD are better able to cope with and re-channel their need to move.
Signs of hyperactivity in teens
Teens with hyperactivity still have the “itch” to move. And they often have to work hard to keep it in check. So while they may not have to get up from their seat in class anymore, they might need to get up from their seat at the cinema in order to move around.
Teens who struggle with hyperactivity might:
- Fidget and tap their feet
- Seem frustrated or impatient when everyone’s just “sitting around”
- Struggle to “stay put” while doing schoolwork
- Interrupt conversations or not listen when other people are talking
- Talk nonstop without noticing what’s going on and how people are reacting
- Constantly touch or handle things in stores or at people’s homes
- Stay up late at night (and seem exhausted during the day)
Risk-taking behaviour in hyperactive teens
Teens with excess energy need to put that energy somewhere. Often, they’re drawn to higher-risk activities like “extreme sports.” That’s not a problem in and of itself. In fact, many teens with ADHD pay close attention to safety issues while doing these activities.
Others may not take even simple precautions, however. That’s especially true if they have impulsivity. For them, it’s extra important to have proper training, supervision, and protection for high-risk activities.
ADHD and teenagers
Some families do find that ADHD symptoms appear to increase in severity during the teen years. This is likely due to a mix of hormonal changes, growing academic and extracurricular demands, and an increasing focus on peer relationships and social life, which can further distract a teen with ADHD from schoolwork and other demanding tasks. While these changes are usually temporary, if a teen’s symptoms worsen significantly and begin to interfere with their quality of life, treatment may need to be adjusted to compensate.
ADHD and adulthood
The symptoms of ADHD in teenagers often continue into adulthood. The way in which inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness affect adults can be very different from the way they affect children.
For example, hyperactivity tends to decrease in adults, while inattentiveness tends to remain as the pressures of adult life increase.
Adult symptoms of ADHD also tend to be far more subtle than childhood symptoms.
Some specialists have suggested the following as a list of symptoms associated with ADHD in adults:
- carelessness and lack of attention to detail
- continually starting new tasks before finishing old ones
- poor organisational skills
- inability to focus or prioritise
- continually losing or misplacing things
- restlessness and edginess
- difficulty keeping quiet, and speaking out of turn
- blurting out responses and often interrupting others
- mood swings, irritability and a quick temper
- inability to deal with stress
- extreme impatience
- taking risks in activities, often with little or no regard for personal safety or the safety of others – for example, driving dangerously