Teenagers in many parts of the world are the most sleep-deprived. Even so, parents need to encourage good sleeping habits. Teenagers need at least 9 hours of sleep a night if they want to function well the next day. This is in terms of their mental, physical, and cognitive health. Although it seems impossible for them to sleep that long during the school year, it is a reason why most of them are sleep deprived. Therefore, they are at a higher risk of being obese and getting depressed, as well as affecting their academic performance. What then can help to build more sleep into the lives of teenagers? In this article, are ways you can encourage a teenager to get more sleep.
It needs commitment
Once a teenager is made aware that sleep is a priority for overall well-being. It becomes easier for them to commit to making sure that they get enough sleep. This does not mean making drastic changes. It just requires that they change small habits that make them sleep more. In return, make them feel better. For a young child, it is easy to enforce bedtime, even though it can be a long and prolonged battle. While for teens, it is tricky, especially when they have not realized that more sleep is important to help improve their academic performance and feel better generally. So, the teen needs to commit with the help of their parents with time.
Consistency is key
When a teenager can commit to starting taking their sleep hours seriously. The next important step is to be consistent with it by watching their sleeping habits. To get these healthy habits to stick. Encourage your teenager to go to bed at the same time every day and to get a maximum of at least 8 hours of sleep. This schedule will work best if it sticks even during weekends and holidays to avoid messing the circadian rhythm that has stuck during the week. Also, it will help them get back to normal Sunday night in preparation for the new week. So, be consistent and avoid any distractions that will affect your sleep patterns.
Keep away screens an hour to bed
Teenagers love having their screens with them all the time. However, it can cause them to be sleep deprived due to the distraction that smartphones, laptops, and Televisions have. Either it is through scrolling the social media pages or the blue light from the screens. All these will keep them awake. Thus, when you need to do homework, and you are using the screen, ensure that you do it during the evening. Because at night, the blue light signals the brain to keep you awake. Importantly, when you are on social media before you sleep, it can cause a lot of anxiety from the information you see and receive. Thus, teenagers need to keep off screens an hour to bedtime to get more sleep.
The bed is for sleep
When a teenager associates the bed with sleeping. It gets easier for them to fall asleep and stay asleep. There is no need of buying a quality pillow top mattress that you sleep in for a few hours and do other unnecessary things. If they have to study in their room, ensure they have a study table that they can use. This will help them shift gears when it is time to sleep. Guide through this new habit if it is already a reality, and in return, it will help your teenager get more sleep. More importantly, ensure the bed your teenager is sleeping on is comfortable to ensure that they sleep soundly.
Advice on a good snack at night
Snacking is very common with teenagers, especially after they have had their dinner. But what are they snacking on before they go to bed? Some snacks can promote sleep, while others hinder sleep by keeping you awake. So if your teenager has been snacking a lot at night, let them know the best snacks for them that won’t interfere with their sleep. For instance, if your teen has caffeine after dinner to help him or her stay awake to finish an essay that is due the next day. The caffeine will affect the quality and quantity of sleep that they get.
Organizing the mornings
A teenager with a streamlined morning will have an easy time waking up and preparing for school. Since no one has control over the time that school starts. Hence, a teenager should be encouraged to organize their mornings to ensure that they can sleep in for a while. For this reason, consider picking out clothes, showering, and packing up your books for the next day before you go to sleep. In doing this, it will save you time in the morning and help you have a smooth running. Therefore, depending on the morning outline in your family, as homes are different. Find ways that will help you to squeeze in as much sleep as possible before you leave for school.
Be a good example
As you encourage your teenager in various ways to get more sleep, ensure that you are setting a good example to make sure that the new routine sticks. So, as a parent, be a good role model by establishing better sleep habits yourself. Hence, when you pull an all-nighter to handle some office work, it is sending the wrong message to your teenager. For this reason, make sleep a priority for yourself first, and your child will follow suit.
To conclude, when it comes to teens and sleep, encouraging them is better than forcing them to try new sleep habits that will make them have more sleep. For instance, have a conversation with them, but not in a nagging way, to know how you can help them stay on track. If the teen starts by even a small change in their sleep routine, encourage them further with more tips. It will surprise you how fast they start getting more sleep.