Ah, those teenage years. As a parent, they can be both highly rewarding and highly taxing. While your teen likely wants to make all their decisions for themselves, as a parent you want to ensure that your teen is creating habits as part of a holistic healthy lifestyle sometimes overriding their decisions. Such can be the case especially when it comes to sleep.
For teens, a healthy lifestyle includes considerations like the foods they eat, mental stimulation, physical activity, social relationships, and, yes, sleep. Before diving into creating better sleep habits for your teen, let’s first look at what sleep disorders look like so you can better spot them and differentiate whether your teen is suffering from a sleep disorder.
Sleep Disorders in Teens
If you ask many adults that suffer from insomnia, sleep deprivation or generally poor sleep habits where their issues with sleep began, you will likely discover that poor sleep habits began for them in their teenage years.
Signs of a Sleep Disorder:
- Consistent tiredness throughout the day
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Problems with excessive sleepiness
- Trouble breathing, pauses in breathing, and snoring
- Parasomnia conditions such as sleep terrors, sleepwalking or sleep talking.
Benefits of Quality Sleep in Teens
The effects of quality sleep in teens are endless, but they are often best measured through the lens of their education. As a result, good sleep can result in the following:
- Better grades in school
- Less mental and physical health issues
- Fewer sick days and late arrivals (this includes on-line classes!)
- Less irritable and easier to live with
- Better decision-making and avoiding accidents
- More connected, healthy relationships at home and in school
Creating Good Sleep Habits
When it comes to teens, sleep is even more important than it is in adulthood. Foster strong healthy habits now and you will encourage positive developmental stages throughout their life setting your kids up for success as they enter adulthood.
If you’re not sure just how much sleep should your teen be getting, our recent blog, “Are your children getting enough sleep?” will give you the guidelines for every age.
Working with your teen to create healthy sleep habits can mean experimenting with different strategies to see what works for them. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Create a relaxing sleep routine
Create a “wind down” routine for your teen. The human body and mind respond to routine and habits and, when a routine is established to create relaxation and trigger your brain for rest, consistent ease when falling and staying asleep can be found. Creating a sleep routine can include the use of certain scents in the bedroom and household (which can be produced with an essential oil diffuser or candle) and by having a nightly herbal tea.
Are you getting good sleep and setting a good example for your teen with your own nightly sleep routine?
Focus on body temperature before bed and during the night
Before bed, encourage your teen to take a hot bath or shower. This habit boosts sleepiness in the body naturally by making the temperature of the room seem cooler which then signals to the body that it is time for sleep.
Dim the lights
Natural Circadian rhythms are hard-wired into our DNA. Our ancestors were up and active at sunrise and slowed down for rest after sunset. At night, artificial light indoors sends confusing signals that it’s still daytime. Try dimming lights, turning off all overhead light, using lamps or candles for a more relaxed mood and help ease your teens into a natural state of sleepiness. Ensure that the bedroom can be made completely dark with effective window shades or, if that is not possible, by using a sleep mask for complete darkness when sleeping. If you can, look at dimming the lights in the evening throughout your home and not just the bedroom.
If your teen is experiencing issues falling asleep, staying asleep or simply establishing a nightly bedtime routine, it’s time to start getting curious! Getting to the root of the sleep problem can be the most effective tactic for ensuring proper sustainable sleep habits.
Some causes for difficulty sleeping can include certain medications, caffeinated substances late in the day or at night, stress, a lack of physical activity throughout the day, anxiety, depression and social pressures at school. Your teen may not even realize what’s preventing them from getting good sleep. So get curious and ask lots of open-ended questions to encourage your teen to connect the dots between what the choices they make and how rested and energetic they are…or not!
Creating an environment for deep sleep
Designing a space that encourages deep sleep isn’t difficult. Just focus on a few areas of the bedroom and household and you and your teen will notice a significant difference in the quality of their sleep on a consistent basis. For one thing, the bedroom should be a zen zone, clean and clutter-free. For some additional thoughts on how to do this, check out 8 Tips for a Dust-free Bedroom – breathing better also improves sleep quality!
We have said it once and we’ll say it again, you should consider removing any electronics from the bedroom. At the very least, come to a mutual agreement with your teen on an “everything is off or airplane mode” by a certain reasonable hour each night. Encourage reading at night (particularly fictional material) can be an effective way for the teen to wind down instead of watching TV or scrolling their phone.
Take a walk through every room in your house around 8 pm or 9 pm this evening. Are the rooms lit bright as day or dimmed for bedtime readiness?
Quality Mattress for Holistic Sleep
SAMINA has world-class sleep products and accessories that will help you create a healthy, quality sleep routine for your teen under any conditions. SAMINA’s luxury mattresses and holistic sleep systems offer a sleep solution that you can count on for a natural sleep for your teen every night. By using organic, all-natural materials, SAMINA encourages body temperature regulation, relaxation and comfort.