When your child was younger, you may have paid a lot of attention to his or her sleep habits, making sure he or she got to bed on time, creating nighttime routines, scheduling naps, and got adequate rest. Now that your child is a teen, setting these parameters is more challenging because he or she is becoming more independent.
It is thought by many teens that sleep is not important. Adults even disregard the need for sleep for their teens as teens stay up later at night. Science has shown, however, that sleep has a big impact on how people feel and on their wellness. This is especially true for teens.
How much sleep do teens need?
While every person is different, adequate rest for teens is between 8-10 hours of sleep per night. This is in stark contrast to what most teens get. Studies show that over 70% of teens get less than the recommended amount of sleep.
This lack of sleep can impact them in more ways than being tired. It can affect their schoolwork, relationships, and mental health. It can also make it hard to make decisions, impact memory, and increase the likelihood of truancy.
Ways you can help your teen get adequate rest.
While your teen does play a significant role in making sure he or she gets enough sleep, there are things you can do to help promote healthy sleep habits and overall wellness.
Make sure that his or her bedroom is cool and dark at night. This will help your teen fall asleep and stay asleep.
Create a routine.
While the routine will look different from when he or she was younger, your teen can create a nightly routine before bed. Simple things like taking a warm shower or bath, reading, and lowering the lights for an hour before sleep help signal to the brain and body that it is time for sleep.
Consider electronics. Using electronic devices before bed impact sleep for all of us. Teens are particularly likely to use their phones, computers, and gaming devices in the evening. Try to keep them out of their bedroom. If devices are in the bedroom, have teens unplug and turn them off an hour before they are ready to sleep. Also, consider keeping phones in another room to charge at night.
Teach them about sleep.
Help your teen learn about the benefits of sleep. This is part of learning to be a healthy adult. While they may not appreciate it now, learning about the importance of sleep can help them for a lifetime.
Model good sleep habits.
Kids, even teens, learn a lot by watching what their parents do. The more you model good sleep habits, the more they will learn from you. They may not put everything into practice exactly the way you do, but it shows them what good self-care looks like.
You and your teen can find support.
Counseling may not be your first thought when it comes to helping your teen get more sleep, but it can be extremely helpful. A professional counselor can often connect with a teen in a way that parents cannot during this season of their life.
Look through this site to find a counselor that would be a good fit for your teen. Then, reach out for more information. Support is available to help you and your teen.
“In Bed with Phone”, Courtesy of Gaeelle Marcel, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “I always wake before her”, Courtesy of Gregory Pappas, Unsplash.com, CC0 License