Is Your Teen Getting Enough Sleep?
Many parents of teenagers could probably write a long list of typical teenage traits – moodiness, bad behaviour, lack of enthusiasm, poor communication… insert your own teenager-ism here. However, some of these behaviours could also be a result of poor sleep. Most adults probably feel grumpy and unmotivated if they’ve had a bad night’s sleep, or struggle to keep the yawns at bay at work after a particularly late night. And the same goes for kids.
Adolescents who are consistently lacking in sleep will most likely struggle to concentrate at school, which could have an impact on their academic performance; friendship issues could also arise due to low mood. Additionally, they may develop problems later in life, including obesity and poor mental health.
Why is sleep so important?
An article published by the Guardian has described how lack of sleep in our children is a hidden health crisis. Obesity and mental health are both epidemic in children but underpinning both is poor quality sleep. Fatigued children tend to crave sugary snacks and drinks to keep the tiredness at bay, which is one factor that can lead to obesity. Lack of sleep can also trigger anxiety; but anxiety can also prevent sleep, so there is this vicious cycle where both elements are continuously affecting each other. Getting into a good sleep routine early can really make a difference.
How can you help your teen sleep better?
Encourage regular exercise and outdoor activities, this will help them stay alert during the day and keep the natural sleep/wake cycles in check.
Cut out screen time at least an hour before bed. Blue light emitted from screens replicates sunlight and supresses the sleep hormone (melatonin), which then makes it harder to fall asleep.
Avoid sugary snacks and caffeinated drinks on an evening.
Set a reasonable bedtime and stick with it, allow for flexibility, but consistency is key.
There are some fantastic resources on The Teen Sleep Hub about the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep and how you can help your teen can achieve that.
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