My Teenager Can’t Sleep!

Teenagers often seem to be on their own sleep cycles, and those cycles might seem totally alien to us. An inability to get a good night’s sleep can have negative effects on their physical health, mental health, school work and mood. Here’s what you can do to help.

Adolescents need a lot more sleep than children or adults. Most experts recommend they get at least nine hours of sleep each night. That can be difficult. Many teens have a full schedule of activities, including homework, social activities, jobs and sports.

With early school hours, that doesn’t leave much time for the hours of sleep your teen needs. If they’re having trouble falling asleep, it’s time to find out what’s happening.

Why Your Teenager Can’t Sleep

Several things might interfere with your teenager’s sleep.

  • Caffeine: Many teens love coffee. They also drink sodas, energy drinks and other beverages high in caffeine. Too much caffeine can keep anyone awake.
  • Anxiety: If your teen is worried about something at school or in her personal life, she may be too anxious to sleep.
  • Sleep environment: Most of us sleep better in a cool, quiet and dark room. Your teen’s room may not be ideal for sleep.
  • Depression: People with depression frequently have sleep problems.
  • Medication: Some medications can cause difficulty sleeping.

Help Your Teenager Relax

One of the best ways to help you teen get to sleep is to establish a bedtime routine. Ask her what would help her wind down. Many teens enjoy a warm bath followed by a quiet activity like reading. Taking a bath or shower at night will also save time in the morning because they won’t need a shower.

Another teen might appreciate listening to quiet music and drinking a cup of tea or warm milk. Be sure to establish a routine. It may seem awkward at first, but after a week or two, your teen will start relaxing enough to get a good night’s sleep.

Ditch the Devices

Electronic devices interfere with our sleep. Many teenagers like staying online or connected to their social media all night. That can make it even harder to get a good night’s sleep. Your teen should shut off all phones, tablets and other social media an hour before bedtime. If you have to, remove them from your teenager’s room to remove temptation.

Create a Great Environment for Sleeping

Make sure your teenager’s room is a good place to sleep. Draw the curtains to block out the light. Set the temperature at 70 degrees. Turn off the television and all electronic devices. Consider using a white noise machine or soothing sounds to help your teen relax.

Let Your Teenager Wake Up to Bright Light

Experts say it’s best to wake up to bright light. You can buy alarm clocks that simulate natural sunlight to make waking easy and pleasant. These alarms use lighting and sound. Thirty minutes before your set alarm time, they start illuminating the room. This simulates a natural sunrise that helps your mind adjust to waking. Try one of these for your teenager.

Stick To a Schedule

The best way to get good, regular sleep is with a schedule. Your teenager should have a morning wake time that allows enough time to eat breakfast and get to school on time. The schedule might change depending on what activities your teenager has each night. Try to stick to it as much as possible.

You Can Help Your Teenager

Making a few lifestyle changes can help your teenager get the sleep she needs. Help her relax, create a suitable environment for sleeping, and stick to a schedule. You’ll see improvements soon.

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