Parents must educate their sleep deprived teens about the importance of sleep, just as they educate them about exercise, nutrition, drug and alcohol use. Teens with a sleep deficit are unable to concentrate, study, drive, and work effectively and safely. They can also experience emotional problems, like depression and are at greater risk of having suicidal thoughts.
You must convince your teen to the benefits of getting their required 9 hours of sleep so that they are willing to practice an earlier bedtime. If they do not do this voluntarily, then you must mandate a bedtime. If there is one part in your teen’s life that you have to step in and be the hated parent, setting a consistent bedtime is one.
12 Tips to Help Your Sleep Deprived Teen
Fall Asleep Earlier and Easier
Lifestyle Changes Must Go Hand-in-Hand With Mandated Bedtimes
Earlier parental-mandated bedtimes must be accompanied by lifestyle changes that will facilitate the teen to fall asleep. Happy, well fed, adequately exercised teens do fall asleep easier so try the following tips with your sleep deprived teen:
- #1. Encourage your youth to eat balanced meals and snacks.
- #2. Encourage your teen to participate in daily physical activities, especially outdoors, inducing adequate quality sleep.
- #3.Welcome his friends to your home and facilitate group activities so your teen has kids his own age to talk to, to have fun with and to help make him feel good about himself.
- #4. Eliminate drinking coffee and other drinks and food with caffeine and sugar after 3:00 pm.
- #5. Do not let him eat 2-4 hours before bed. Food gives energy, and activates the stomach muscles, both of which can keep one up. If food is needed, suggest a high-carb snack like cereal, toast, popcorn, fresh or dried fruit or fruit juice.
- #6.Teach your child how to handle stress and how to unwind so he does not carry his worries to bed. Yoga classes would help with this. Help in learning visualization techniques to calm his mind and melt away the tensions of the day.
- #7. Suggest writing down in a journal what he does not want to forget or what is stressful for him to do for the next day. Encourage him to add a few steps he will take to make the next day easier. Once it is on paper it should allow his mind to quiet down for sleep.
- #8. Schedule enough time to relax before the agreed upon bedtime and have a routine of getting ready for bed. “Unplug” two hours before bed. This gives your brain a chance to unwind and get ready for sleep.
- #9. Remove all electronics from the bedroom: computer, television, phone, cell phone, video games…
- #10. Have a reliable alarm set so there is no worry of not waking up on time. Turn the clock around so he does not stare at the clock and worry of not sleeping.
- #11. Suggest a relaxing activity to help fall asleep like a warm shower, reading or listening to soft, soothing songs.
- #12. Provide a soft reading lamp that can be switched off from the bed, comfortable bed clothes and keep the room cool (68 degrees). Sleep happens when the body cools and awakens when the body warms.