Is your teen getting decent sleep? From blockout blinds to podcasts, these strategies may help your teen get the better rest their body and brain needs.
The teen body clock is often a major frustration for parents. For many teens, their instincts are to seek later evenings and sleep-ins but this doesn’t make for easy mornings…. especially on school days! Previously I’ve written about how teens actually need more sleep than they realise but it is hard to convince them that quality sleep is an investment in good health.
With no word of a lie, the teens I speak with often complain about lethargy and blame a lack of sound sleep as being the reason for disengagement from class work and even some social situations. They know they feel like crap, yet are unsure how to better manage their sleep needs..
So, without treating them like babies….and sending them off to clean their teeth and beddie-byes at 7pm here are some ways you can support your teen to achieve better sleep.
Limit screen time prior to bed
Chatting online, scrolling social media and gaming are leisure activities which frequently keep teens awake into the wee hours. Devices – but in particular phones – emit blue light which can contribute to poor sleep. Logging off at least an hour before bed is recommended but even putting it down 30 minutes before sleep can help.
For younger teens I totally recommend having them place their devices in another room overnight. The temptation to check notifications or answer messages can compel them to prioritise their phone over sleep. Just before bed is not the ideal time to engage in brain stimulating information or entertainment.
Fall asleep listening to a podcast or relaxation app
Personally, falling to sleep (and staying asleep) has been so much easier since I’ve started listening to podcasts. Conversational tones and interesting topics let me forget about the hustle of the day gone and I must admit rarely making it to the end of any episode I start. With podcasts catering for every imaginable interest, there’d certainly be something which would appeal to your teen.
Another alternative is to explore the huge range of relaxation tracks, audio books and meditation apps available. You’ll find all usually have a sleep timer and can auto switch off.
If you’re planning to stick with the guideline of them keeping devices away from their bedside overnight you could always bluetooth to a speaker or have an agreement to tiptoe in and remove the device once they’re asleep.
If your teen is a light sleeper or suffers after having nights of broken sleep, blockout blinds could help with controlling the sleep environment and might be a super investment .
If during the night their bedroom is impacted by street lights, passing car headlights or low level outside noise, blockout blinds can darken and quieten their space to help ease their body and mind into more restful sleep.
Set a regular sleep schedule and routine
And yes, this may seem a no brainer. But it’s a strategy often overlooked, especially by teens who get caught up in the moment and find time has escaped them.
Humans are creatures of habit and respond very well to routine. Have a regular schedule for heading to bed and then rising helps the body’s biological clock. For older teens with active social lives even having a weekday sleep schedule and ritual will help increase the quality of sleep they are getting. The result? Better moods, increased concentration and enhanced overall health.
Cut out sugar and caffeinated drinks prior to bed
If your teen is having inadequate or poor-quality sleep it’s time to quit the late night sweets and cola. Indulging in pre-slumber treats and introducing sugar into the digestive system before bed will promote energy and not rest. The same goes for caffeine laden drinks which stimulate the nervous system.
Of course, if your teen’s sleep issues are having a detrimental impact on how they’re able to cope with daily activities, please seek professional medical advice from your family doctor to thoroughly investigate the issue.