Sleep is very important for your brain and body functions. Not getting enough sleep can cause you more harm than good. As a parent, if your teens don’t get enough rest they’ll become moody and irritable which can affect their relationships with family and friends, school progress and exams, and their athletics performance. They can become drowsy and sleep at any time without warning even behind the wheel and cause an accident.
Sleep and teenagers
Teenagers love to stay up late at night scrolling through social media and talking to their friends on the phone. This habit can be detrimental to their health as it becomes hard to fall asleep or wake up at the right time. Teenagers are supposed to get 9 hours of sleep each night to help their bodies function properly and for the good of their mental, physical, and cognitive health.
However, very few teenagers get a good 9-hour rest even on a school night. Most get an average of 6 hours or less on most school nights. According to studies, insufficient sleep in teenagers is not only affecting their safety and academic performance, but it’s also increasing their risk of obesity and depression. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to help your kids get as much sleep as they can to improve their lives. There are small changes and even lifestyle changes that they can implement that can help make a huge difference in their well-being.
How to help your teen get more sleep
Create a routine
Before coming up with a routine, talk to your teens and agree on what works for all parties. If they are used to sleeping late even on school nights, you should make changes little by little to give them time to adjust. If they go to bed at 11 pm, they can’t suddenly start going to bed at 9 pm. You can shift their bedtime 20 minutes earlier and gradually keep changing until they start going to bet at the ideal time. Make sure they stick to this bedtime even during the weekends to avoid interrupting their sleeping patterns. If they accumulate sleep debt during the weekend, it can affect their health and skin problems like pimples and acne.
Have a grown-up conversation with your teens
Talking to your teens about their bedtime is a difficult topic as they might think you’re nagging them or don’t know what you’re talking about. However, it’s important that they understand why sleep is important for their health and general well-being. You should help them understand what it means to get a good night sleep and what happens if they don’t and what they can do to sleep well every night.
Share your own experiences of what happened when you didn’t sleep well and subtly express your concerns that they aren’t sleeping enough without lecturing them. Have an honest discussion as to why they think they aren’t sleeping well and what they can do to improve it. This gives them a chance to feel included in making decisions that affect them and also they feel that they own the situation which can give you surprising results.
Make their bedroom a comfortable and relaxing place
Your teen’s bedroom should be clean, well arranged, and welcoming. It should also be quiet, dark, and a comfortable cool environment of about 68 degrees. This will promote sleep and ensure that your teens get a good night’s rest which will improve their performance in school. They should sleep on a comfortable bed which means their mattresses should be supportive and firm. A saggy and worn-out mattress can cause aches and pains in the morning, but a Saatva mattress, for example, will provide support, comfort, and pressure relief to their joints which will help them sleep better.
Give them sleep-promoting foods
Teens love snacking on sugary foods like soda or cookies before they go to bed which isn’t good for their sleep. Instead, you can give them snacks that promote sleep that will help relax their bodies and minds. Bananas and almonds are rich in magnesium and they help to calm and relax their muscles. Also, a mixture of hot water, lemon juice, with a teaspoon of turmeric and ginger helps to reduce their blood sugar which prevents them from having sleep interruptions at night.
To replace the cookies that give them a sugary rush, you can try blending a frozen banana with a spoonful of almond butter which is just as delicious as ice cream and it promotes better sleep.
Keep electronics out of their bedroom
To promote a healthy and relaxing sleeping environment for your teens, keep all electronic devices out of their bedroom. The blue light from these devices prevents their bodies from producing melatonin which promotes sleep affecting their sleeping cycle. It becomes hard for them to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Encourage your teens to get a lot of sunlight during the day
Exposure to sunlight during the day is said to help promote better sleep at night. Encourage your teens to catch as much morning sunlight as possible to help keep their body’s internal clock on track. They can keep the shades and curtains open at night so that the sun’s ray in the morning can help in resetting their brain to regulate their biological clock.
Set a good example
If you want to see changes in others you need to be the change yourself. You need to set a good example for your teens if you want them to develop good sleeping habits. You can’t ask them to go to bed early if you’re staying late to watch movies. But, if you go to bed at the right time and wake up early feeling relaxed and refreshed, your teens will want to follow your example because they can see the benefits and you won’t need to lecture them.
No matter your age, getting enough sleep is very important because it affects your life, mood, health, and relationships. When your teens are going through puberty, getting enough rest makes it bearable. With these tips, you and your teens can get better sleep for a healthier and happier life.