It is important to get enough sleep no matter how old you are. Sleep helps the body stay healthy and makes it easier to deal with life’s challenges. Sleep is proven to help memory and focus as well as improve management of stress and anxiety, which are especially important if your teen is studying at school or college, or starting a placement or job.
Difficulties with sleep don’t stop when you become a teenager and problems that become established during teen years can continue into adulthood. Disturbed sleep, or trouble getting to sleep, can be caused by a whole host of different things – worrying about stuff, different foods, bodies changing as they grow (for example, the body produces sleep hormones differently during puberty, meaning that sleep patterns may fluctuate).
Finding an effective sleep routine will help support a good night’s sleep, and if you can establish a good routine when you’re a teenager, hopefully you will carry this into adulthood. Some things to try are:
- Try to encourage your teen to limit screen time before bed, the blue light from phones, computers and TVs can interfere with sleep. Suggest listening to music or reading instead.
- Is your teen’s bedroom comfortable? Having a comfortable space to sleep in is important; make sure their bedroom is dark, cool, quiet and safe.
- Encourage your teen not to eat too much before bedtime an over-full stomach can be uncomfortable in bed. Equally going to bed hungry can also keep you awake.
- Think about how much caffeine your teen drinks (remember, caffeine can be found in fizzy drinks like cola and energy drinks, not just tea and coffee). Caffeine can stop you falling asleep or reaching a deep sleep.
Below are links to further information about teen sleep that may be of use to you and your family. If you would like to tell us about an idea or routine that you have found to be particularly useful, please contact us via email.
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The Children's Sleep Charity 'Teen Sleep pilot project' was funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and provided support direct in schools and Sleep Champion training for professionals. In this video, Students from Sirius who took part in the project wrote and performed a short drama piece about Sleep deprivation.
Parents place a great deal of emphasis on teaching youngsters about healthy eating and exercise but yet fail to educate about the importance of a good night’s sleep. Sleep problems can be a very serious issue and lack of sleep has been linked to obesity, depression and impaired learning. Read more here.
NHS choices have a variety of sleep advice for teenagers
'Sleep problems in childhood and adolescence: for parents, carers and anyone who works with young people' is published by the Royal Society of Psychiatrists, and looks at the reasons behind why some children and young people have sleep problems. It offers some practical advice on how to deal with sleep problems, plus information about teenagers and sleep and has an interesting story about Jason, a teenager with diabetes.