10 Top Sleep Tips for Teens
We’ve put together this blog post to help you talk to your teenager about sleep and share some handy tips for better quality snooze time.
How many hours of sleep should a teen get?First of all, how do you know if your teen is getting enough sleep in the first place?
The recommended sleep for teenagers is 8-10 hours a night, but researchers have found that across the country average sleep for teenagers is far less, with our young people often losing 2-3 hours per night. As parents, it can be difficult to persuade your strong-willed teen to take note, but by helping them make a few slight changes you (and they) should see the benefits.
Sleep tips for teensIs your teenager having trouble sleeping? Use these sleep tips to help them establish a better routine and feel happier and healthier every day.
1. Talk about the importance of sleep
To teens, not sleeping may not seem important, but good sleep is as vital to your body as air and water. Even more so when it comes to growing adolescents! Talk about the effects of lack of sleep and you might just capture their interest. Mention poor concentration impacting school work and test results, sallow, acne-prone skin and a proven higher risk of accidents, injuries or illness.
2. Limit late night screen time
The glare of the blue light emitted from screens is scientifically proven to fool our brains into thinking it is daytime. If your teen is unwilling to unplug at night, why not instigate a family-wide ‘no devices in the bedroom’ rule so you’re all in it together? They may not like it now – but in a few years’ time, chances are, they’ll thank you for it!
3. Suggest a bedtime routine
Like you did when they were toddlers, perhaps bedtime for teenagers in your house could become a familiar comforting routine to help brains and bodies get ready for night time. Include a warm bubble bath, cup of herbal tea, and a good book for starters.
4. Reduce caffeine
Caffeine stimulates the brain. It makes it more difficult for your teen to fall asleep, and reduces the amount of time they spend in deep regenerative sleep. So, why not buy a selection of decaf and herbal teas that you can both try? Remember, caffeine can also be found in many of your teen’s favourite snacks and drinks, so help them to understand what to avoid just before bed.
5. Don’t let them overeat before bed
Encourage your teen to eat dinner early with the rest of the family so they have time to digest their food before bed. Food lying heavy in their stomach is a sure-fire way to digestive discomfort and heartburn preventing sleep. But don’t let them go to bed hungry either. Suggest high carb snacks like wholemeal toast and peanut butter, lower sugar cereals or oatcakes to help promote sleep.
6. Pimp their room
Decorate your teen’s bedroom in calming colours, introduce sleep-friendly plants and perhaps use a sleep-inducing scented room spray – try orange blossom, marjoram or lavender.
Make sure their mattress is comfortable and supportive and choose bedding that will help them get the best quality night’s sleep. Try wool bedding, proven to increase deep regenerative sleep by 25% when compared to other bedding types. Keep your teen’s bedroom cool, as quiet as possible and use blackout blinds to reduce light.
7. Help them learn to relax
The teenage years are a stressful time. From exams, to relationships to changing bodies, there are many things that affect our teens’ mental health. So give them a way to help themselves by teaching them the basics of mindfulness, meditation or yoga for sleep.
8. Ditch the long weekend lie-ins
Easier said than done, but keeping your teen’s wake-up time the same every day will help them go to sleep much more easily every night. Long weekend lie-ins have been proven to disrupt our body clock, giving us a feeling akin to jet lag if we sleep only two hours later than usual. A healthier way to catch up on sleep? Get up at normal time and head back to bed for a nap later on.
9. Get them exercising
Exercising in the daytime has been proven to help us get better quality sleep. Help your teen to find a physical activity they enjoy, even if this means you go along with them. Finding a new hobby will have the added benefits of helping with weight management and taking their mind off stresses from the day, not to mention providing an opportunity to make new friends.
Going to bed worried makes it much more difficult to settle into deep, uninterrupted sleep. As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. Get your teen talking so they feel they can open up to you about stresses and strains, and ease their worries instead of going to sleep on them.
No teenager likes to have questions fired at them 24/7. But deep down your teen wants to know that you’re there for them, that you care about them and want to help. If your teenager is having trouble sleeping try to help guide them to the root cause so you can resolve it together. And if you’re worried that there is no explanation for your teenager not sleeping, arrange an appointment so you can both talk it through with your GP.
Looking for more sleep tips? Visit our Sleep Health & Advice hub.