One study has shown that 85% of teens slept less than eight hours on school nights. According to National Sleep Foundation, teens need about 8 to 10 hours for sleep which means most of them are lack of sleep. Not having enough sleep has tons of negative effects on their study and life. They aren’t able to concentrate for a long time in class. Everything becomes very difficult to remember, even assignments or an important date with a special person. Acne is a common problem among teenagers. Lack of sleep increases the risk of getting pimples and other skin problems, sometimes make things worse. It also affects moods and relationships as teens become moody, aggressive and yelling at friends and their family. Even adults are unable to control their tempers when they don’t have enough sleep. Besides, it causes driving drowsy making drivers less able to pay attention to the road and react slowly. It’s very important to help your teenagers build good sleeping habits to have sufficient sleep. Here are seven easy-to-follow tips showing how to help your teens sleep better.
1) A helpful nap
When teens don’t get enough sleep at night, they tend to take a nap at noon or in the afternoon to rejuvenate. That’s great. It helps them concentrate the rest of the day. However, sleep duration is one thing often ignored by many teens and parents. Some teens have a long nap in the afternoon which makes it difficult to fall asleep at bedtime. They end up with insufficient sleep. It produces a vicious circle. The helpful nap should be taken in the early afternoon and less than half an hour. That wouldn’t have any negative effect on your sleep at bedtime.
2) Go to bed earlier
Go to bed one hour before bedtime every night and make use of the time to read a book, listen to quiet music and other activities getting him or her calm down. It gives our mind and body to relax to prepare for sleep. Any screen activities like watching TV, playing video games, using smartphones shouldn’t be allowed during this quiet time because they stimulate our brain and keep us alert. Teens tend to be more energetic and less able to fall asleep quickly so don’t force him or her to sleep. A firm association between the bed and sleep should be built into their mind. Go to bed earlier to get one hour calm activities like reading a book help build and enhance the association.
3) Have a small high-carb snack
Many people know what not to eat or drink before bedtime – namely a heavy meal, coffee, spicy food, which disturb sleep. But most of them don’t know there are some foods we can eat for a better sleep. Dietitians Catherine Christie, PhD, and Susan Mitchell, PhD recommend high-carb snacks in their book Smart Cookies Don’t Get Stale as snacks get you warm and sleepy. You can let your teenagers try some before bedtime like cereal, graham crackers, fresh fruit, dried fruit, saltines, etc.
4) Relieve their pressure
Don’t think teens have nothing to worry about or their life is all about sunshine and fantasy. In most cases, the exact opposite is true. They feel stresses out or anxious as adults do. They’re also worried about the future and feel sad and depressed when they have some issues in school. Parents need to talk to them about matters they’re concerned with. It will help them relieve pressure in their mind and find the right way to deal with problems. That clears their mind to sleep better.
5) Act as a role model
Mom and dad’s sleep habits have great effect on their boys and girls. There is no doubt that parents should act as a role model for your teens to make sleep a priority. Try to go to bed early instead of staying up late. It makes no sense to children that you ask them to go to bed early when you’re going to bed late.
6) Don’t let them leave homework for the last minute.
Most kids and teenagers tend to lack self discipline and usually spend all their time having fun as possible as they can. Have your teens ever left the weekend homework till Sunday evening? Some even do it next morning before hand in. Doing homework in the evening or next day imposes pressure to their mind and brain. It’s not hard to imagine sleep quality they will have. With that kind of pressure in their mind, they must fall sleep late and wake up too early, result in bad sleep.
7) Don’t sacrifice sleep
Adults tend to ignore sacrifice sleep our body needs to do daytime activities. Sometimes we engage in pleasurable activities like watching TV, playing games and eating out. Most teens don’t have any concept of time and just do anything they like without time limit. They may play video games or watch tv all night if we don’t limit the time. It’s very important that we help them schedule their sleep time and stick to.