Sleep is one of the most important things in a teenager’s life. While the proper amount of sleep varies from person to person, on average, your teen needs about nine hours of sleep every night.
Sleep is a major contributing factor not only to a teenager’s physical health, but psychological health, moods, behavior and school performance. Teenagers have biological patterns that are different from any other age group.
Teens’ circadian rhythms change toward going to bed later and waking later. Due to these biological patterns, teens often don’t get the sleep they need, especially with late bedtimes during the school week. Here are a few ways you can help teens get the sleep their bodies are craving.
Get your teen into a regular sleep pattern.
Teens often go to bed at random times throughout the week. It’s important to encourage your teen to follow a sleep schedule so he or she goes to bed at a consistent time every night. Sleep should not be viewed as a luxury but rather a necessity.
Also, encourage your teen not to stay up and sleep in extremely late on the weekends. Changing sleeping patterns on the weekends throws off the biological clock and reduces the quality of sleep throughout the week.
Create a relaxing, before-bedtime routine.
Help your teen establish a pre-bedtime ritual that will help relieve stress and provide a relaxing environment. At least 30 minutes before bedtime, have your teen turn off the computer, cell phone, TV and any other electronics, which stimulate brain activity and make it more difficult to fall asleep. Encourage your teen to pick up a book, which can be a great way to relax and help eyes get heavy.
Develop a sleep zone.
Help your teen make his or her room a place that is ideal for sleeping. Remove all electronics from the room so the temptation to watch TV doesn’t take over when it’s sleep time. Also make sure your teen’s room is a comfortable temperature, quiet and cozy. Doing these things will make sleeping something to look forward to.
Reviewed by Leyla Akanli, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.C.C.P., medical director, Pediatric Sleep Center and Pediatric Pulmonology Center at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St.Vincent.