Puberty is a normal phase of life that typically takes place between the ages of 8-14. Although the average time to start puberty is 11-12 years old, there is no “normal” because everyone is different! Puberty can be an awkward phase of life, as everyone is growing and changing, but it is completely natural.
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is especially important throughout puberty. As you are developing, your body needs much more sleep than usual in order to refuel. In fact, teenagers around this age need about 10 hours of sleep per week! It may be challenging to stick to a regular sleep schedule while trying to balance school, extracurricular activities, and your social life, but it is very important to prioritize sleep. Although it may seem like a waste of time, sleep is crucial for your mental and physical health!
Everyone's sleep-wake cycle is regulated by a circadian rhythm commonly thought of as your body’s internal clock. During puberty, you will experience a shift in your circadian rhythm. For example, prior to puberty, your body is typically used to going to bed between 8-9 PM. Once puberty begins, your circadian rhythm shifts a few hours later to around 10-11 PM. With this change, you may experience more energy at night and have a harder time waking up early in the morning. Unfortunately, most schools still have not adjusted their start times to accommodate students, so during puberty it may become extra difficult to keep up a healthy sleep routine. You should listen to your body and try not to stay up too much later than this 10-11 PM time frame.
Instead of forcing yourself to sleep when you do not feel tired, you should start a bedtime routine that helps your body’s natural processes take over. These tips can help you get to bed earlier without the frustration of lying awake in bed for hours.
During puberty, your body produces more oil, which can easily clog your pores, resulting in acne. Whether it comes in the forms of zits, whiteheads, pimples, or blackheads, acne is completely normal! Although acne can be annoying, you aren’t alone, in fact, it is very common. However, there are methods to keep up with facial hygiene during/after puberty.
Sweating is your body’s way of cooling down, so it is completely normal and healthy too! During puberty, you may sweat more than usual which can smell. To keep the smell at bay, you can clean your underarms with soap and water when you shower and wear deodorant on a daily basis.
As you begin puberty, you may notice more body hair growing on your face, legs, arms, armpits, and pubic region. This absolutely does not mean you must shave! Contrary to popular belief, someone who chooses to shave is no more hygienic than someone who chooses not to shave. You do not need to follow the gender stereotypes surrounding body hair. Find what makes you feel most confident in your body and remember it is never your place to judge someone else's!
During puberty, changes in hormone levels can cause you to experience a greater amount of wet dreams. Wet dreams are when a person orgasms in their sleep due to a dream which may or may be sexual. While typically people only discuss wet dreams in relation to people with penises, people with vaginas experience them too! They are natural occurrences and you should not feel ashamed if you have them.