|Puberty: Let's Get Growing!
It happens to everyone. Clothes that fit perfectly a month ago are suddenly hanging a little weird -- like, those full-length jeans now look like capris, or the seat of your pants feels tight, or your sweater sleeves don't come anywhere near your wrists anymore. What's up with that?
Puberty changes the size and shape of your body. You get bigger and taller, and your body begins to look more "adult" and less "childlike."
You won't wake up one morning and be too big for your bed…you won't grow that suddenly (which is good, because that could hurt!). But you will be growing pretty fast, maybe even as much as 4 inches -- or more -- in a single year. Whoa!
The growing you'll do in puberty is very important because when puberty ends, you'll be standing at your adult height. That's right! You've been growing taller since you were born, but puberty is pretty much the final act for height. You could be 4 feet tall when you're 12, and be closer to six feet when you're 16!
As you get taller, your body will also be changing shape. It happens a little differently for guys and girls, but in general, the process is the same.
Growth in girls
If you're a girl, your growth spurt will make you look more feminine. You'll not only get taller, but your butt, hips, and thighs, will get wider, so you start to have a curvy shape. You might gain fat a little faster than you gain muscle. This is totally, totally normal, because women, on average, have more body fat than men do. Some people may react to this by wanting to diet, but try to keep in mind that it's a normal part of puberty for all girls. (You may want to check out our advice on Eating Disorders.) Girls' breasts will also grow, and for more on this important topic, see The Breast Years of Your Life.
Growth in boys
For guys, the growth spurt will have a more masculine effect. As you get taller and gain weight, most likely your shoulders will get broader and you'll slowly add muscle, looking more "manly." And speaking of manly, there will also be growth going on in your private areas. For more about this, check out Below The Waist: It's a Guy Thing.
So when can I expect to do all this growing?
If you're a girl, you'll probably go through a major growth spurt between ages 9 and 13, give or take a year or so. If you're a boy, your growth spurt will probably come a little later, between 10 and 16. But the simple answer is: you'll be growing through every stage of puberty. Teens and adults are bigger than kids, so a lot of what puberty is about is adding height and weight, and getting a more "adult body." That's why adults are called "grown-ups." Because they've grown up. Puberty is your time to grow.
And why can't I sleep?
You may find that you have trouble falling asleep at your usual bedtime, staying up later than you used to (and then waking up later the next morning!). Or maybe you're waking up once or twice during the night instead of sleeping straight through. It's normal for a person's body clock to shift during puberty thanks to all those hormones and growth. Still, it's important to get the sleep you need, not just to give your body some rest but to help you function well during the day. Try to choose a bedtime that will give you 7-8 hours of sleep and start a "winding down" routine at least 30 minutes before, such as reading, listening to music, or taking a bath.
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