Teens and sleep should, and occasionally, go hand in hand. If you know what it was like being a teenager, then you probably remember being asleep quite a bit of the time. In fact, you may be noticing these same symptoms in your own adolescent. They may seem out of it in the mornings or dozing off at odd times.
Well, if it seems that your teen isn’t getting enough rest, this isn’t a good thing. A good night’s sleep is imperative for excellent physical health and for proper mental health as well. So, if you want to ensure that your teen is undergoing optimal development, here are all the things that you need to be aware of:
How Long Do Teens Need to Sleep?
Teenagers are going through what is known as a “secondary stage of cognitive development”. This means that they actually need more sleep than ever before! In fact, experts suggest that the average adolescent should be getting around nine to nine and a half hours of sleep.
So, as you can imagine, your teen’s current routine is probably not cutting it. They are probably following a schedule that allows them around seven hours of sleep and this isn’t enough. Therefore, the first step you will need to take is to restructure this particular aspect of their day.
Figuring Out a Bedtime
Now, one of the reasons that your teen isn’t getting enough shuteye is because they are going to bed much later than they should. Believe it or not, this isn’t all up to them. See, during puberty, the body’s natural biological clock shifts. As a result, teens fall asleep a little later and wake up later as well. Hence, the groggy teenager at your breakfast table.
To get a better idea of what your teen’s natural cycle might be like, visit https://ouraring.com/find-your-own-circadian-rhythm/ for greater understanding. With the information here, you may be able to figure out what time to send your child to bed.
So, what if you learn that your kid’s natural bedtime is far too late to allow them to get a proper night’s sleep? Well, in this instance, you can try and reset this cycle by following the tips below.
Restructure Their Day
It is important to take a look at your teen’s day. Do you find that they are constantly occupied with after-school activities, homework, sports, and social life? If so, you may find that they are staying up late, trying to balance it all.
So, wherever possible, try to trim things down. Focus on the most important tasks and then see how much time is left for your teenager and get to bed on time. Keep in mind, they will need a brief period to unwind from their day before they can fall asleep.
Also, if your teenager is involved in sports or working out, make sure that their last form of exercise is several hours before their bedtime. Some people have trouble winding down after they work out. Thus, it can be harder for them to fall asleep when they are supposed to.
Cut Out Screen Time Before Bed Time
These days, it can seem that smartphones and digital devices are an extra limb. It is unlikely that you will see your teen without one. Unfortunately, researchers have found that teens are now taking their phones to bed as well.
As you can imagine, notifications can make it quite difficult for your child to go to sleep. What’s more, the “fear of missing out” can keep them up as well. All in all, smartphones and sleep certainly don’t mix. Laptops and tablets aren’t any better either. These can serve as distractions where teens end up binge watching videos and TV shows well past their bedtime.
Last but certainly not least is the fact that the blue light from all these devices can throw your teen’s sleep schedule off. It resets their circadian rhythm and keeps them awake for longer. Thus, they need to stop using these devices about an hour before bed.
So, how can you counteract this problem? Well, your best move would be to temporarily confiscate these items. Keep them with you so that your adolescent isn’t tempted to use them. Get them an old-fashioned alarm clock instead to wake them up in the mornings.
Create the Right Sleep Environment
There is such a thing as an ideal sleep environment. And, it is quite possible that your teen’s bedroom doesn’t really fit the bill, either. So, it is a good idea to make the necessary changes and improve these conditions.
To start with, make sure that no light can interfere with their sleep at night. One option is to get blackout curtains or shades to completely block out external light. This is especially important if their room is near streetlights or billboards.
It is also important to keep their room as cool as possible as this facilitates sleep. So, have a fan in the warmer months at the very least so that they won’t be uncomfortable in the night. If your teen does have air conditioning, let it cool down the room beforehand.
Finally, the room should be as quiet as possible. So, if you live in a noisy area, it can be helpful for your teen to sleep with earplugs in. If they are unable to sleep in total silence, then opt for some soothing white noise sounds instead.
Continuing a Healthy Pattern with your Teens and Sleep
There is a good chance that your teen is going to complain that these new techniques aren’t working after a week or so. They aren’t wrong – switching up sleep schedules can take a while. Despite this, it is important that your child sticks to them every day. Give it enough time and both of you should start seeing results. So, you shouldn’t let them go back to their old ways just yet.
If you want to raise a healthy teen, you need to make sure that they get enough sleep on a regular basis. Thankfully, the tips mentioned here should help you to do just this.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on 5 Signs of Sleep Deprivation and How to Avoid It