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Health & Fitness

How Do You Help Teens Get More Sleep?

  1. Ban electronics from the bedroom

The majority of parents complain that electronics – including mobile phones and social media – are the top reason for their teens’ sleeping problems. In fact, the latest research indicates that blue light from electronic screens disrupts cues sent to the brain in order to wind down. The best thing is to remove these devices from the bedroom physically.

  1. Charge mobile phones elsewhere

Create a family rule stating that all electronic devices should be charged in your bedroom or another space in your home. It will reduce the temptation to use cell phones at bedtime. Many teens I meet in my practice are somewhat relieved when their parents limit the use of cell phones since it tends to take away some of the pressure to keep up with social news and what their peers are up to.

  1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule

Sleeping more than normal on weekends and during school breaks makes it difficult to switch back to the circadian rhythm. A sleeping schedule will help keep the circadian rhythm in check. In fact, “catch-up” sleep won’t make up for the total amount of sleep lost over a week. On the other hand, it isn’t as restorative to the body.

  1. Discourage afternoon naps

Afternoon naps tend to provide more sleep in the short term. But naps will make it harder for your teen to fall asleep at night. They break up sleep and result in lower-quality sleep and fewer benefits. You should do everything possible to get your teen to quit naps for a week in order to make it easier for him or her to break the habit.

  1. Don’t procrastinate on big tasks

It’s better to do the homework and any other important work as soon as your teen gets home from school. They may want to watch TV or play on their phone for a few hours before doing the homework. It’s better to keep the momentum going from day one in order to teach them this new habit. In fact, when your teen doesn’t have to complete important deadlines at the end of the day, he or she may find it easier to wind down for bed.

  1. Stick to sleep-friendly bedtime routines

Limiting other distractions in the bedroom is also important. All stimulation should be minimized such as keeping lights low and active pets out of the bedroom. Don’t use music or sound machines to fall asleep since they make keep the brain stimulated. Make sure that their bedroom is cool in order to help their body get ready for sleep. Eight Sleep’s cooling system can be helpful in regulating temperatures to ensure a restful sleep.

  1. Limit caffeine

I don’t encourage caffeine for teens. But if your teen drinks caffeinated drinks, don’t give them energy drinks since they tend to have higher levels of caffeine than coffee or tea. Any caffeinated drink should be consumed no later than lunchtime. In fact, it is better to get to bed earlier than to get a surge of energy during the day.

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