How to Help Your Teen Get More Sleep



Encourage a consistent bedtime and wake-up time.,
Create a calming atmosphere in the evening.,
Make the teen’s bed an exclusive sleeping area.,
Determine your teen’s specific sleep needs.,
Turn off technology.,
Cut out evening sodas, snacks, and caffeine.,
Avoid exercise late in the day.,
Don’t leave schoolwork to the last minute.,
Evaluate napping routines.,
Discuss the dangers of inadequate sleep.,
Look for over-stuffed schedules and excessive stress.,
Watch for signs of depression.,
Identify common and treatable sleep disorders.,
Advocate for later school start times.

During the school year, all teens seem to have the same sleep schedule: they stay up too late and get up early on weekdays, then sleep until noon on weekends. Inconsistent sleep schedules, however, confuse the body’s sleep rhythms and make it harder to get enough quality shut-eye.Don’t let teens stay up (or stay out) much later than normal on weekends, and try to keep the same evening patterns in your household regardless of what day it is. Schedule weekend morning activities for around the same time that school starts.
Set an alarm, throw open the curtains, or bang a drum if necessary to help your teen wake up at the normal time on weekends. Eventually, with your encouragement, he or she will begin to go to bed at a more reasonable time.
Do your part to maintain sleep schedule consistency for your teen during holiday breaks and summertime as well.;
, If your home is bright, noisy, and hectic right up until bedtime, you shouldn’t be too surprised if your teen doesn’t want to go to bed or has trouble falling asleep. Everyone benefits from having a “wind-down” period of one to several hours before bedtime.As the evening progresses, turn down or turn off lights, lower the volume on (or even better, turn off) TVs, stereos, and other devices, and encourage calming activities like reading or taking a warm bath or shower.
It might seem like a bad joke taken from a song from the 1980s, but getting your teen to “wear his sunglasses at night” might help bring on a desire to go to bed. Our bodies respond to darkening conditions by producing more melatonin and encouraging sleep, so ask your teen to try donning shades in the evening., Many teens view their rooms as personal sanctuaries and want to spend a significant amount of time in there. Depending on the room, the bed may become a work desk, lounging area, snack spot, and so on. However, it benefits your teen’s sleep rhythms if his or her brain associates being in bed exclusively with sleeping.If you don’t have room to give your teen a work desk, provide some room at the dining room table for homework. Encourage snacking in the kitchen and lounging in the living room. Consider removing distractions like TVs and game consoles from the bedroom.
Make the bedroom itself more sleep-friendly by hanging blackout curtains and ensuring a comfortable temperature with circulating air.

, Regardless of age, each person has unique requirements when it comes to sleeping time per night. While it is typically stated that teens need about nine hours of sleep nightly, some may get by just fine with a bit less, while others may need more to feel rested and refreshed. Finding a teen’s ideal “sleep number” is an important step toward ensuring that adequate nightly rest is achieved.The best way to determine any person’s ideal sleep time is to average out how long he or she sleeps when there is no need to wake up at a specific time. For instance, you can keep track of how long your teen sleeps when he or she doesn’t need to get up on a Saturday morning. If the number is 9.5 hours, use that as the goal for your child to achieve each night., It may seem like an impossible task to get any teen to put away the smartphone, shut down the computer, and turn off the TV. However, the light emitted from electronics screens can trick our bodies into delaying melatonin production, which in turn disrupts normal sleep patterns.You should try to enact a “no screens” policy for at least one hour before bedtime. It will probably work best if you make it a blanket policy for everyone in the household — for instance, no screen devices after 9 pm for anyone.
Replace looking at screens with reading a book, listening to calming music, taking a warm bath or shower, drinking herbal tea, meditation or prayer, or other relaxing activities that help spur melatonin production., Even if a soda or coffee does not seem to give you a jolt of energy, a small amount of caffeine can interfere with normal sleep patterns for hours. In most cases, it is usually best if teens avoid caffeine after early afternoon. This is actually a good policy for adults as well.Nighttime snacking can also make it harder to fall asleep, especially when sugary or fatty foods are consumed. Teens can be prone to snacking even when they’re not hungry as they try to assert control over when and what they eat. Make sure a healthy, filling dinner is available and limit available snacking options to things such as carrot sticks, apple slices, or almonds., Even if it is healthier than a soda or junk-food snack, moderate to vigorous exercise in the evening can stimulate the body and make it more difficult to get into “sleep mode.” So, while exercising during the day is great for a teen’s health and can help wear him or her out (thereby making it easier to fall asleep), it should be avoided in the evening. Stick to a relaxing walk after dinner., Teens can be expert procrastinators, waiting until the last possible moment to do homework, study for a test, or write a term paper. Pulling an “all-nighter” or working into the wee hours obviously has a negative impact on sleep, but so too does doing schoolwork right up until bedtime.You want your body and your brain to wind down and ease into sleep mode, but cramming for the next day’s test or trying to figure out algebra homework will instead keep your brain’s engine running at full speed.
Productivity is the key: by making use of study hall, the wait for the bus, or ten minute blocks of “down time” here and there, a teen can get more done during the day and have enough time for sufficient sleep at night., When employed in moderation, napping can help restore focus and energy during the day. Indeed, in some parts of the world teens in school take scheduled daily “power naps.” However, naps that are too long or poorly timed can interfere with nighttime sleep.For teens, it is usually best if naps last no longer than 30 minutes. A need for longer naps may indicate inadequate nighttime sleep. Also, naps should be avoided beyond late afternoon, since evening naps can interfere with the nighttime routine. If your teen is tired in the evening, suggest that he or she call it a night a bit earlier.

, Every human body needs a certain minimum amount of rest to function properly, and will get it one way or another. If a teen is consistently not getting enough sleep, ongoing lethargy, lack of focus, and mood swings may occur as the body seeks needed rest. Even more worrisome, the body may simply demand sleep while the teen is driving, for instance.Of course, teens may not necessarily be persuaded by perfectly rational arguments about how not getting enough sleep hinders academic performance and increases the risk of car accidents. You might, however, find a little more success by appealing to a teen’s vanity, by pointing out that insufficient sleep increases the likelihoods of acne and obesity.Regardless of what methods work best with your teen, the important thing is that you talk to him or her about the importance of sleep. Don’t just impose a new bedtime or command changes in habits. Include your teen in the process of making changes for the better — and set a good example by making positive changes to your own sleep habits as well.

, Between homework, extracurricular activities, after-school jobs, family responsibilities, and busy social calendars, it should be no surprise that many teens feel like they don’t have enough time for sleep. In fact, over half of American teens are significantly sleep-deprived during the school year, averaging six or fewer hours of sleep per night.Talk to your teen about the dangers of overextending oneself. Help him or her to learn to say “no” sometimes — or do it for him or her when necessary.
Hectic schedules create stress, and excessive stress and inadequate sleep can create a vicious cycle. Stress makes it hard to sleep, a lack of sleep increases stress levels, and round and round it goes.
These wikiHow articles on teen stress and high school classroom stress provide helpful stress reduction tips.

, When stress and sleeplessness combine into a vicious cycle, depression can easily join the mix and further exacerbate sleep issues. Over half of American teens exhibit moderate or significant signs of a depressive mood, and many of them experience sleep disruptions as a result.Signs of depression can vary greatly, but keep an eye out for changes in mood (such as constant irritability or nervousness), social habits (like withdrawing from normal activities or friendships), or daily routines (like changes in eating habits or interests).
If you suspect possible depression, seek guidance from medical professionals and trained therapists. Talk to your teen and reassure him or her that you are there to help and want to work through things together.

, If your teen employs good sleep habits and still seems tired all the time, you may want to consider whether he or she is suffering from a sleep disorder. Common conditions like narcolepsy, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and sleep apnea aren’t limited to adults. Fortunately, many common sleep disorders can be treated effectively.While not technically a sleep disorder, some teens may have disrupted sleep patterns due to the changes in melatonin production that are common during that period of development. They may benefit from simply taking low-dose (2-3 mg) melatonin supplement tables, which are available over the counter as a vitamin. It is best to consult a doctor first, though.Only a physician can properly diagnose a sleep disorder and recommend proper treatment options, which may include a range of medications, for instance. Whether prescription or over-the-counter, it is always safest and best to consult with your teen’s doctor before turning to sleep medications.

, It turns out that your teen can legitimately blame human biology if he or she wants to stay up late and sleep in late. Circadian rhythms change during the teen years (along with the many other changes going on), and tend to put teens on a later sleep schedule. The fact that many middle and high schools start early in the morning, then, works against nature and sufficient teen sleep.While changing entrenched schedules is a slow process, schools in the U.S. that have moved start times to 8:30 am or later have seen improvements in attendance and performance, and decreases in trips to the school nurse and guidance counselor.While you wait for your school district to enact a later start time, you can help your teen out by encouraging him or her to do as much preparation as possible the night before (bathing, laying out clothes, packing up supplies and lunch, etc.). That way, your teen can sleep in a bit longer in the morning. Don’t let your teen skip out on breakfast, though; prepare a healthy, on-the-go breakfast like a cereal bar, yogurt smoothie, or dried fruit and nuts.

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