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The Physiological and Psychological Development and Changes During the Adolescence Period of an Individual

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The term adolescence has been constantly confused with puberty, resulting to their synonymously use. Puberty can be defined as the physiological variations entailed in the sexual maturation of a child, together with other body variations that may take place during this period. Adolescence on the other hand, is defined as the stage from puberty to adulthood, and it entails the psychological experiences of the childhood during this period (Lewis.J, 2016).Adolescence occurs during the teenage years ranging between thirteen to eighteen years of age, a period in which a child undergoes through different physiological and psychosocial changes. This article reviewed the significant developments that occur during adolescence and the impact they can have on future development and importance of sleep regarding the physical and cognitive changes that occur during adolescence.

Adolescent development.

The changes taking place in adolescent can be classified into five groups; physical, cognitive, emotional, social and behavioral developments (ReCAPP, n.d). For the sake of the assignment, this paper focused on the first three developmental changes. The physical developments characterized by experiencing a growth spurt, that entails robust growth of bones and muscles as well as sexual maturity (puberty).Majority of the adolescents will encounter the following physical changes; growth of pubic and underarm hair, and facial and chest hair in boys;oiler skin and some acne; changes in body proportion; enlargement of testicles, erections, first ejaculation, wet dreams, deepening voice in boys; masturbation and fantasies about sexual intimacy; breast budding, increased vaginal lubrication and beginning of menstruation cycle in girls.

The cognitive development is marked with a dramatic shift in thinking from concrete to abstract giving the adolescence a universal set of new mental tools. This enables the adoloscelence to analyze scenarios logically in terms of cause and effect (ReCAPP, n.d). Among the cognitive developments include; developing a sense of values and ethical behavior: acknowledging the value of traits such as honesty, helpfulness, caring for others; developing a social conscience: becoming concerned about social issues such as racism, global warming and poverty; seeking for information and advice from peers; shifting school focus from play-centered activities to academics; developing sense of independence; considering future career and occupation.

In emotional development, the adolescents encounter the immense risk of establishing a sense of identity. The new cognitive skills accord them the ability to reflect on who they are and what makes them different from others, unique (ReCAPP, n.d).Identity is composed of two components; the self-concept, refers to the set of beliefs, including roles,attributes,intersts,goals,values and religious or political beliefs and self-esteem, referring to a personal feeling on self-concept. Among the skills mastered in emotional development include; ability to recognize and manage emotions, having knowledge on how to resolve conflicts fruitfully, developing empathy and developing a team spirit.

Impacts of developmental changes during adolescence on future development

These developmental changes during adolescence bear various impacts on future development during adulthood. First, the physical development of early adolescence usually result to new responses from others, in the sense that the young adolescent will no longer be treated as children but rather as sexual being deserving protection. The adolescents will encounter the expectation of the society for how young men and women “ought” to behave. The physical development will also lead to new concern with physical appearance and body image, where both the adolescent girls and boys will want to “fit in” with their peers yet to accomplish their personal unique style (ReCAPP, n.d).The physical development prepares the adolescents for the myriad changes that occur during their lifetime. According to (Koff & Rierdan, 1995; Stubbs, Rierdan, & Koff, 1989), adolescent girls who are unprepared for the physical and emotional changes of puberty are likely to experience most difficulty with menstruation.

Second, the emotional development prepare adolescents to establish a realistic and coherent sense of identity in the context of affiliating to others and learning to tolerate stress and manage emotions in their future life (Santrock,2001).Through self-identity, the self-esteem of adolescents is improved enabling them to gather the courage to face a problem rather than evading it.Emotional development also enable the adolescents to master emotional skills (referred to as emotional intelligence) which are necessary to manage stress and be sensitive and effective in associating with others (Goleman,1994).

Third, cognitive development equip adolescents with higher-level thinking skills that will enhance their thinking about future, examine alternatives and set personal goals (Keating,1990).The competence in cognitive is characterized by ability to ;reason effectively, solve problems, think abstractly and reflect, and plan for future. Although adolescents have robust developing capacity for higher-level thinking, most of them still need guidance from their elders to establish their potential for rational decision making.

Importance of sleep regarding the physical and cognitive changes that occur during adolescence.

Replenishing sleep is strongly related to a better physical, cognitive and psychological well-being. In contrast, poor or disoriented sleep is affiliated to diminishing of cognitive and psychological functioning and deteriorates physical health (Brand.S & Kirov.R, 2011).When one is interrupted from sleep, he/she I makes an attempt to recover the lost sleep time. Therefore, recovering lost sleeping time after deprivation gives revelation that sleep is not simply a period of minimized activity or alertness controlled by circadian or ultradian rhythms. Having enough sleep every night is indispensible for physical and cognitive health. If an adolescent is deprived of enough sleep each night, he/she is like to suffer from improper fat body regulation, damaged cognitive function and hindered athletic performance (Cooper.Z, 2017). This leads to the discussion on the importance of sleep as follows.

First, regulation of body fats. While sleeping, significant appetite-regulating hormones like leptin are produced, and these hormones become limited when there is inadequate sleep. Therefore, people who do not have adequate sleep at night overeat and gain fat (Cooper.Z, 2017).According to research conducted by the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in 2010, those people who cope sleep deprivation consume an extra 560 calories as compared to normal consumption, which is adequate to result in more than 50lbs of weight gain over the course of the year if not coupled with more physical activity (Cooper.Z, 2017).

Second, improve cognitive function. Enough sleep is essential to enjoy optimal mental acuity. According to research conducted by the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in 1998, adolescents who inadequate sleep at night had performed dismally on test of cognitive function (Cooper.Z, 2017).Since the adolescents are usually anticipated to perform at their best mentally while in School, curbing sleep inadequacy can have a profound impact on an individual’s performance in class.

Third, improved athletic performance. In reference to research findings presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association Sleep Societies in 2008, lengthening the time of sleep every night significantly improves the ability of an athlete to perform (Cooper.Z, 2017).Since majority of adolescents engage in sport competitions, those who would like to display better performance are advised to have adequate sleep. The teenage are like to experience clumsiness and slower physical reflexes, which could result to negative impacts on driving safety.

Reflecting to my sleeping hours during the adolescence period, I was having inadequate sleep. One of the reasons that could lead to deprivation in sleep was watching movies and documentaries. Averagely I was having between 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night; nevertheless, the recommended hours of sleep should be at least 9 hour per night meaning that my hours of sleep were below the recommended threshold hours of sleep.

Due to limited sleeping hour I would feel fatigue during day time resulting to frequently evading physical activities like participating in sports. It took me time to find out the cause of my deteriorating performance on examinations in school until I visited the guidance and counseling department where the counselor discovered that my limited hour of sleep as the root cause. Even in class I could not easily grasp easy concepts taught by the teacher, to worsen the situation I was so forgetful and confused concerning the daily activities taking place in school.

Currently I spent between 9 to 10 hours of sleep per night. Since the time I increased my hours of sleep things changed and started feeling less fatigue, whereby I engaged in sporting activities and become agile during classes and ultimately recording higher performance in exams. Following the positive result after increasing the hours of sleep I came conclude that adequate sleep plays a vital role in cognitive and physical development in human being.


Adolescence is a period that commences with puberty and terminates with transition to adulthood; it takes approximately between 13 to 18 years of age. During this period, the teenager undergoes different developmental changes; physical, cognitive, emotional, social and behavioral developments. These developments at the adolescence have significant impacts in one’s life in future. The amount of time scheduled for sleep every night plays a vital role in cognitive and physical development in human being.

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