Aims and objectives. The aim of this review was to explore the literature to determine what is known about adolescent sleep, the causes and consequences of disturbed sleep in adolescence and the implications this has for nursing practice. Background. Sleep disorders are relatively common in young people. Disturbed sleep can be both a cause and a result of ill health and if recognised can indicate psychosocial, psychological or physical difficulties. Design. Literature review. Methods. Searching of key electronic databases. Results. Disturbed sleep in adolescents has several potential consequences, including daytime sleepiness, reduced academic performance and substance use/abuse. However, despite its significance and frequency, sleep disturbance is an area of adolescent health that is almost entirely unaddressed within the nursing literature. Conclusion. Nursing has a role to play in assisting adolescents and their families to recognise the importance of sleep to the general health and well-being of young people. Relevance to clinical practice. There is a need for nursing to develop tools to assess sleep in adolescent clients and non-pharmaceutical interventions to assist adolescents achieve optimum sleep and rest. Nurses may also contribute to educating adolescents and their families regarding the importance of good sleep hygiene.