Ah sleep, the good stuff. It seems like the teen years sleep is abundant and sleep tips for teens seems almost useless. Surely you’ve found your teen snoozing well past noon on the weekends, but during the week their sleep schedule is a major disaster. On a small scale a lack of sleep affects their schoolwork, functionality, and lets not forget their mood. But on an even larger scale, a lack of sleep can diminish your teens health and contributes to at least 100,000 car crashes per year.
The struggle is real:
Several of the body’s natural and critical functions of the brain occur during sleep. Your teenager is experiencing changes in the brain similar to that of an infant’s ever-growing brain. So what makes them lose so much sleep? Don’t blame your teenager too heavily, they are experiencing significant life changes that their sleep just cant keep up with.
Teenagers face increasing responsibilities, including at work, school, and home; their social lives are expanding; even their physical bodies are changing immensely. For these reasons only 15 percent of teenagers report having adequate sleep. So, if you and your teenager are struggling with trying to create the perfect sleep schedule, you may have come to just the right place. Continue reading to learn about ways you can improve your teenager’s sleep and overall improve their lives.
How much sleep do teens need?
This may be one of the most common questions asked when it comes to teenagers and sleeping. Just how many hours of sleep do teens need? It is recommended that the average adult gets between 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. However, with teenagers it is recommended to get a minimum of 9 to 9 1/2 hours of rest. With sleep experts claiming the ideal magic number is 9 1/4 hours for the best sleep.
With many teenagers not getting quite as much sleep as they should it can sneak up in negative ways. Impacting their lives short term as well as long term. As well as developing less than ideal sleep habits and routines. By incorporating a few sleep tips for teens they’ll surely get back on track to getting the rest they need.
Why is sleep important?
While they may try to occasionally stay up past their bedtime, even teenagers know that sleep is important. Our bodies and our brains thrive off of how much sleep we get, and teenagers are no exception. It is specifically important during this time of growth. Which is mentally, physically and emotionally. Making sure your body as plenty of time to recover and rest allows teens to be better students and excel in whatever areas they find interest in.
However, studies conclude that this is not the case; a small 15 percent of teens report sleeping approximately 8.5 hours per night. This is especially due to their changing circadian rhythms. Many teens report not being able to fall asleep before 11:00 pm, which is completely natural. But early school starts paired with staying up late, equals an overly-exhausted teen, unable to perform well on tests, schoolwork, and potentially not even staying awake in class. It’s a never-ending cycle for teens.
Consequences of losing sleep:
The consequences for teens losing sleep seems to be even longer than for average humans. Worrying parents usually notice faulty schoolwork first, this is because it limits your ability to think, learn, listen, concentrate, and solve problems- not to mention forgetfulness.
In addition, the bane of a teenager’s existence; acne. A lack of sleep makes teenager’s more prone to skin issues including acne and pimples. If you ever thought your teenager was moody for no reason, check their sleep pattern. Going too long with inadequate sleep can cause aggressive behavior, moodiness, and impatience- which is more than likely why your teenager might randomly yell or become quickly enraged.
Also, not sleeping enough can cause your teenager to overeat and therefore lead to weight gain. This is one of several health concerns caused by a lack of sleep. Other health issues can include a teenager’s health overall; making them more likely to experience illness and be less capable of fighting it off. If you were ever unsure how much your teenager needed those 12 hours of sleep, now you know why. Below are a few sleep tips for teens that will surely help them make sure they get into a great pattern for adequate sleep.
12 Sleep Tips for Teens (Sleep Hygiene):
When it comes to the best sleep tips for teens they don’t differ from the best sleep practices in general. Typically revolving around a good bedtime and sleep routine, minimal technology and a healthy lifestyle.
1. Create a good routine:
Helping a teen get good sleep can feel much like getting a new baby to sleep. Teenagers like babies, can benefit from a good sleep routine. Doing the same thing night after night gives the brain something to expect and helps your teenager fall asleep faster.
A good routine includes getting prepared for bed: decreasing stimulation as it gets closer to bedtime, avoiding distraction from pets, and keeping lights dim. However, it is not recommended to use any type of sound machine or noise maker because it can actually stimulate the teenage brain and keep them awake.
2. Don’t take naps:
While your teenager may seem tired after school and during the day, discourage them from taking naps. Naps only provide short term relief, but can make it harder to fall asleep, and breaking up sleep can reduce the quality of sleep. If your teen is already a napper, encourage them to not take naps for at least a week. This will make it easier to quit the habit going forward.
3. Get you exercise:
Hopefully for most teens this is an easy box to check. Any teenagers involved in athletics will certainly have this one covered. However, if you are more sedentary it could effect your sleep. Similar to most adults teens are sitting for the majority of their day in class. With the exception of gym or physical education courses. So if you don’t participate in a sport and don’t exert your energy for at least 30 minutes it might be effecting your sleep.
4. Eat a balanced diet:
This might be one of the more difficult tasks for some teens, but making sure you have a well balanced diet may effect your sleep. By ensuring your body is well fed with the proper nutrients allows your body to focus its energy better while sleeping. By giving your body fuel that is healthy not only lets your body recover better, but also won’t make you wake up in the middle of the night with a growling stomach.
5. Say no to cell phones:
This includes charging them. When it comes to sleep, electronics should either be banned or at least limited in the bedroom. The light from electronics interferes with sleep, and of course using those electronics most often causes your teen to stay up later.
Even charging them in a different room altogether eliminates the distraction or need for teenagers to check their phones throughout the night. One recommendation is to terminate electronic use at least 30 minutes before going to sleep, allowing the mind to settle.that might be more of a challenge for your teenager but it can have incredible benefits.
6. Homework first, sleep last:
Ask any expert and they will tell you that your teenager should always do homework first. This is much easier said than done, but it will have lasting benefits for your teen. Doing their homework first, as difficult as it may seem, keeps the momentum up from school. In addition, it helps your teenager wind down for bed more easily by not being stressed about schoolwork right before bed.
This is why it is also recommended not to procrastinate or save big projects until just before bed. The stress of a large project or missed work can easily keep your teenager up at night; either working on the project or not being able to fall asleep.
7. Caffeine free:
Most doctors will tell you that teenagers should not consume caffeine period, but since this is not likely the case, they highly advise drinking it, at least before lunchtime. Caffeine isn’t just coffee either- it includes energy drinks, soda, and tea. Caffeine should never be taken after lunchtime to avoid the sudden rush of energy which could potentially damage your teenager’s sleep routine.
This is especially important for teens who may get enticed by all the energy drinks available. These almost being worse than a cup of coffee or can of soda. With a huge jolt of not only caffeine but sugar too.
8. But it’s the weekend:
Do your best to avoid giving in to this common phrase with your teenager. He or she may want to lie in bed all afternoon to ‘make-up’ for whatever sleep they lost during the week, but in actuality, long weekend lay-ins can have an extreme affect on their sleep schedule during the week.
Bouncing back and forth between waking up early and waking up much later, means that your teenager’s body cannot create a sleep schedule. A little bit of extra sleep may be needed, but four or five hours more is not helpful. Simply put:by the time Sunday night rolls around, they still wont be able to fall asleep any earlier after sleeping into the afternoon.
9. Try Melatonin:
Melatonin is not a medication. The body naturally produces melatonin to fall asleep, but in teenagers, its no surprise when melatonin is produced more after 11:00 pm. Doctors do not recommend giving your teenager any type of sleeping aid or medication, due to its groggy or “hangover” like effects, but melatonin is a natural supplement with little known side effects. When taken at least an hour before bedtime, melatonin can help stimulate restful sleep for your teen.
10. Consult a professional:
Don’t let your teenager lose too much sleep before you call in a professional. Their primary care doctor is a great place to start. A lack of sleep can be caused by actual sleep disorders such as depression or sleep apnea, and your child’s doctor can tell you. If sleep deprivation continues, there are also sleep specialists available. Take your teenager’s sleep seriously- it could have a major impact on their success.
11. Use a weighted blanket:
With the stress and anxiety commonly found in younger generations it may be harder and harder for teens to fall asleep and stay asleep. With worries of the next morning’s exam or big game on the horizon, sleep is more vital than ever. But sometimes that much harder to accomplish. The amazing benefits of weighted blankets have proven to decrease stress and anxiety levels. Allowing anyone using one, especially teenagers, some serious health and wellness benefits.
Check out some of our favorite weighted blankets as well as the benefits on our Benefits of a Weighted Blanket blog.
12: Keep a clean bed and room:
As adults we can certainly understand the benefits of keeping a clean and soothing bedroom to consider our haven. However, many teens may look at their rooms differently. Many times considering it a multi functional space that is a combination of lounge, study and homework space as well as sleeping space. However, sometimes the sleeping space is most overlooked. Causing a room full of electronics and other stimulation less ideal for getting ready for bed.
By keeping a teens bedroom set up in this manner you may actually be inhibiting them from proper rest. Though many teens like having their designated space to call their own, it might be a good idea to try and keep electronics and other potential stress and stimulating devices in a different space. When children are young many times parents create a “play room” to keep toys and games in a designated space. Converting a similar area with this concept, but for teens, may be the solution.
Beyond a room disconnected from the bedroom for teens to use it is also important for a clean and comfortable sleeping space too. By making sure your teens bedroom is clean and healthy helps promote a better sense of calm, relaxation and all around better sleep.
Sleep Tips for Teens Bedrooms:
Not only is it important to encourage the above sleep tips for teens. It is also a great idea to help make their bedrooms a sleep haven too. When it comes to making your teens room better for sleep there are a few things that can help.
A bedroom that is slightly cooler may help promote better and deeper sleep. By making sure your teen doesn’t overheat will ensure a restful night opposed to waking up multiple times trying to get comfortable in a sweaty situation. This is actually good for every sleeper in your house, so keeping your thermostat a few degrees cooler in the evening hours will benefit everyone.
Trying to get 9+ hours of sleep at certain times of year can be tricky when the sun is a factor. In the summer months you may have the sun shining longer into the evening, as well as rising before you. Making it a little tricky for getting good shuteye. By having darker shades in your bedroom it helps to create a better ambiance to promote sleeping, even if your schedule doesn’t stay in line with the sun’s.
Having a bedroom that is clean not only promotes better sleep, but also better hygiene and even personal responsibility. This is a great learning opportunity to teach your kids how to do laundry. By making sure their bed linens are washed on a regular schedule will help them learn a skill for life. It also will keep their bedroom cleaner and fresher. Making it easier to climb into bed.
One thing that all your mattresses should have, but is especially great for a teens bedroom, is a mattress protector. These are great at keeping your mattress clean and fresh. As well as help with eliminating stains and sweat. They are also easily washable for an easy task that can be combine with washing the sheets.
As parents we often times “know what’s best” for our kids. However, once they are getting a little older they may have more of an opinion on what is comfortable for them. Listening to your teen and allowing them to have more say in their mattress, pillows, sheets, etc. may help them find something more suitable for their needs. As well as allow them to feel more invested into their bedroom, sleep and taking care of their space too.
Time to Implement:
If you’re not feeling sleepy after reading our best sleep tips for teens, then you must be a teenager. Don’t chalk it up to being ‘difficult’, the next time your teenager tells you they cant sleep, there are a number of actual reasons why. Sleep is especially important, and yet even more hard to find for a typical teenager. Do your best to encourage proper sleeping habits, and try not to let them sleep on the couch all night long.
Have questions about the best sleep tips for your teen or other sleep related questions? We’d be happy to help! Just contact us and we will get back to you as quickly as we can.