Researchers have identified that sleep deprivation in youth is on the rise with an estimated 25% of adolescents affected by some form of sleep disturbance. Much like babies, during adolescents our biological sleep patterns change meaning we don’t fall asleep until later, making that 6am alarm clock a real killer!
According to the National Sleep Foundation, teenagers required between 8-10 hours of sleep a night for their minds and bodies to function at optimal levels but due to lifestyle factors only 15% of teens actually sleep this much.
It’s a well-known fact that teenagers have delayed melatonin secretion at night and then elevated in the morning, meaning their body clocks don’t match their lifestyles with school commitments expecting them to rise early.
So how do we prevent sleep deprivation in our teenagers and help them achieve their best at school and maintain good mental health?
Tips for Sleep in Teens
- Allow sleep ins on the weekend
- Encourage early nights
- Make Sundays early to bed night
- Try to limit screen time within 1 hour of bed
- Avoid scheduling activities early in the morning
- Talk to your child about good sleep health
Allowing your teenager to relax and take time to be in the present, will also help them unwind and prepare for good sleep. Encourage taking 10 minutes during the day to be mindful of daily stress and pressure and try to put it in perspective.
Taking some time to sit, relax, take a walk or do yoga can help unwind and focus on the present. Getting regular exercise but not within a few hours of bedtime also has proven to improve sleep in children, adolescents and adults alike.
Lastly, practice what you preach. Set an example by being present yourself, reducing your own screen time and focusing on healthy lifestyle habits.