How to help your sleepy teenager

Most teenagers are exhausted! According to the UCLA Sleep Disorders Centre, there are four main reasons for their lack of sleep – and it’s not just official teenagers that aren’t getting the rest they need. The same sleep issues can affect 10 to 12 year olds as well.

Causes for their lack of sleep include the following –

  • Rapidly changing bodies
  • Busy schedules
  • Active social lives
  • A wrong view of sleep

The centre recommends that parents help their children develop the habits of good hygiene, setting them up for their future. Try their tips.

  1. Parents should create a calm atmosphere in the home at bedtime.
  2. Teens should have a regular, relaxing routine just before bedtime. They often have busy, hectic schedules and need a chance to unwind at night.
  3. To help them relax, teens should avoid activities that will excite their senses late in the evening. They should find another time for computer games, action movies, intense reading or heavy studying.
  4. They should not have anything with caffeine (including fizzy drinks and chocolate) after 4pm.
  5. They should also avoid smoking and drinking. Along with hurting their health, nicotine and alcohol will
    disturb their sleep.
  6. A regular exercise routine and a healthy diet will help them sleep better at night.
  7. Keep the lights dim in the evening. Open the curtains or blinds to let in bright light in the morning. This helps keep their body clocks set at the right time.
  8. If they must take a nap, they should keep it to under an hour.
  9. It can be hard for teens to get enough sleep during the week. They may need to wake up later on weekends. But they should not wake up more than two hours later than the time they normally rise on a weekday. Sleeping in longer than that will severely disrupt a teen’s body clock. This will make it even harder to wake up on time when Monday morning arrives.

If you are really worried about sleep issues, talk to a doctor.