Don't you wish there was a book called "Getting Your Teen to Sleep at Night" or perhaps "7 Highly Effective Sleep Habits of Healthy Teens"? There just HAS to be a way to help your teenager sleep better AND teach them good sleep habits.
In the medical field, choosing healthy sleep is called "sleep hygiene" but who cares what it's called? We just want our teenagers to get a good amount of sleep so they can function like a human being during the day!
Parents, here is the problem. Teens actually need more sleep than they did when they were younger. Scientific research shows that many teens don't get enough sleep, but for normal growth and development in their minds and bodies, many doctors recommend that teens get 8-10 hours of sleep every night. Not only do teens not get enough sleep, those same teens will fall asleep later than they should and wake up earlier to start their day. This is called the "sleep-phase delay". As teens shift their biological clock back, they are actually suffering from partial sleep deprivation. And in our society, the situation is made much worse with our excessively busy schedules. You can read more about the delayed sleep-phase here.
The basic premise eludes the average teen. They NEED sleep, like we all do. Humans can't think, work, function, or remain healthy without it.
Below, you'll find a brief overview of how to teach teenagers to sleep so they can function at home and in their education.
Come up with "Winding down" habits that help you slow down and get ready to go to bed is a great way to develop good sleep habits. Helping our bodies wind down and get ready for sleep will allow your teen to fall asleep easier. They may not be easy to come up with, because often teens want to lay in bed and look at their phone in order to wind down and catch up with the day. But, if you can encourage them to do that while they are sitting in the living room, and then create good sleep habits that will help them wind down for the night, falling asleep will be easier, and likely faster. These will signal to your body that it's time to sleep, helping you associate bed with sleep
Once you've trained your body to fall asleep, you'll also want to train your body to wake up. You can signal your body that it's time to wake up with these habits.
Constantly changing sleep schedules can only make matters worse. These are some things that you'll want to avoid at all costs with your teen.
The bottom line is that sleep is vital to your teens well-being. Developing good sleep habits and having a regular sleep pattern is possible and it's even possible to get the 8-10 hours of sleep recommended. You can find more information on sleep at the Sleep Foundation site.
If you have concerns, speak to a pediatrician to ask advice on solving your teenagers sleep problems. Avoid sleeping pills, as they are over-used or unnecessary and may be ill-advised for teenagers. Instead, focus on lifestyle changes first, and then speak to a family doctor or pediatrician instead.
Sometimes when you're struggling with a teenager, whether it's because of sleep or something else, it helps to have a good support system to walk with you through it. Join my Gold Care Club. I can be that support system for you, and, I used to be a nurse, so I understand!
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