Do you appreciate that your teen needs more sleep than you? Thousands of adults are struggling to get enough sleep, but teenagers are even more likely to fall short of the recommended mark. The recommended number of hours for a teen is between 9 and 9½ hours of sleep. The impact of sleep deprivation on a teen’s well-being is significant because they suffer a wealth of physical and mental health problems. There is an increased risk of automobile accidents and a decline in their academic performance. If you’ve got a teen in your family and you’re concerned they’re not getting enough sleep, here are some tips for you to try.
Make the Bedroom a Gadget-Free Zone
It won’t make you the most popular mom and dad, but it will help your teen get to sleep. The blue light the screens of smartphone, tablets, TVs, or computers emit interferes with sleep. As well as that, having electronic devices near to hand means they are going to be more likely to use them. As well as encouraging a gadget-free zone, encourage your teen to have at least 30 minutes of screen-free time before going to sleep.
Regular exercise will help your teen sleep more soundly and improve their general health. A good goal is for them to get at least 60 minutes of exercise every day. Activities can include aerobic activities such as running and fast walking. Getting your teen to exercise outside will also encourage healthy sleep patterns.
Create a Sleep-Friendly Bedroom
The ideal environment for a good night’s sleep is a room that’s dark, cool, quiet, and comfortable. Make your teens bed a comfortable place to drift off to sleep with down pillows and comforters; you can find out more here. To help block out early summer mornings and light evenings, consider investing in thicker curtains or a blackout blind.
A healthy diet is essential for teenagers, not just because it will help them sleep better at night. During their adolescence, your children are growing both mentally and physically. They have heightened nutritional needs, and the foods they eat will impact on their health when they reach adulthood. Healthy eating will promote good food habits that last a lifetime.
Encourage a Regular Sleep Pattern
Getting up and going to sleep at the same time has been shown to help you get a better night’s sleep. Does your teen tend to go to sleep when they’re tired and wake up when they’re not tired anymore? Do they enjoy a lie-in at the weekend? Getting them to set up a regular sleep schedule will be very beneficial.
Encourage them to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning, even if it’s Sunday! Buy them an old-fashioned alarm clock and banish all electronics from the bedroom. Reduce their intake of caffeine, and that includes energy drinks, not just tea and coffee. Eating heavy meals within two hours of bedtime is not a good idea. Get them to eat much earlier, and if they feel the need for a snack, make it something light and healthy. It may take a while for them to adopt these healthier habits and even longer to make the habits stick. It might also feel a little awkward to begin with but make sure they persevere.
Include a daily winding down time in their schedule with up to an hour’s quiet time before bedtime for calm and enjoyable activities to help them to relax. Activities can include listening to quiet music, reading a book or so on that let their mind and body relax. Watching TV, playing computer games, exercising, heavy study and chatting to friends on social media are not quiet activities. The last few minutes of this time should be in their bedroom, but not on the bed because the bed should only be used for sleeping. By ensuring this is so, it will build up firm associations of bed and sleep in their mind.
Teens and Sleep Disorders
If your teen is complaining of being tired all the time, it’s likely they just aren’t getting enough sleep. However, feeling sleepy all the time may be a sign of something more serious. A sleep disorder could mean your teen has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, problems with excessive sleepiness, or parasomnias (such as sleep terrors or sleepwalking). Many sleep disorders that teens suffer from are either delayed sleep phase or an irregular sleep-wake schedule.
Delayed sleep phase syndrome is a common problem, and it is related to an inability to fall asleep and daytime sleepiness. The cause of this is a short circuit between the biological clocks and the 24-hour day. It is a problem that is often found in those who suffer from depression, as well as many teens.
An irregular sleep-wake schedule happens because of lifestyle scheduling, and it’s a condition that can be fixed easily. An example of this is a teen who is awake most of the night catching up on the social media posts or playing on their XBox. The next day they are going to spend most of it asleep so that they can feel good. If your teen is awake until the early hours of the morning at the weekends, they’ll be struggling to get to sleep on Sunday night. It means that they’re going to be nodding off in class on Monday. Changing their sleep habits is the way to overcome this problem.
If you’re concerned there may be a problem with your teen, make a doctor’s appointment for them as soon as possible.
Encouraging your teen to adopt some habits mentioned above may be a challenge. Try to explain why you want them to do certain things, and it might make it easier. Setting a good example with regards electronic items is also going to help. They might not thank you to begin with but give them time, and they’ll come to appreciate why you’re making the suggestions. Getting them to adopt healthy sleep habits now will benefit them for many years to come.