Helping teenagers to get better sleep

Our modern world is full of distractions: 24-hour news, 500 channels, after-school activities and daily errands. It’s no wonder that many people—especially children and teenagers—are having a harder time getting a good night’s sleep. With so many gadgets to play with and so many places to go who would want to pause for sleep?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long to see the ramifications of insufficient sleep. From attitude problems to poor performance in school, teens that go without sleep sometimes feel the effects even more than adults. Puberty and young adulthood is a time of growth and learning. Teens that don’t get enough rest may do long-term damage. If your teenagers aren’t getting the right amount of sleep, here are some tips that can help them unplug, relax and sleep better.

Soda and sleep don’t mix. Have your teen cut down on caffeine.

If you’re doing the grocery shopping, then you can be the one who cuts the list of foods and drinks that contain caffeine. Items such as coffee, chocolates, sodas and teas should all be avoided. You can’t monitor their food habits when they’re not at home, but by banning these items from the house you can help set up healthy habits for better sleep. Explain the effects of caffeine to your teenager so they understand that these items not only affect their ability to sleep but their overall health as well.

Alcohol is not a sleeping aid.

Many adults drink alcohol to fall asleep fast. Although adults can usually tolerate the effects of moderate alcohol use, drinking to fall asleep sets a bad example that teens might try to follow. First, give up your evening night cap. Then, explain to your child that although alcohol may help people fall asleep, it also causes disturbances that can lead to a lower quality of sleep.

Teach your teen how to relax before bedtime.

Although this is much easier to do when they are toddler, it’s never too late to teach good sleep habits. Parents can teach their children how to relax prior to going to sleep.

Start by spending time talking with your teen about their day so they can learn how to handle the everyday stress of life — school, relationships, first jobs, and growing up. If the child is able to talk about these things before bedtime, he or she will have a better night’s sleep without being preoccupied by stress. Also have your child do a relaxing activity such as reading a book or practicing yoga to establish a regular bedtime routine.

Encourage teenagers to exercise for better sleep.

Explain to your child the importance of having just the right amount of exercise in getting better sleep and achieving optimum health. To make it more effective, join your teenager in a regular exercise routine such as light jogging or a brisk walk after dinner. A neighborhood walk can also be the ideal time to talk with your teen on ” neutral” territory about their day.

Gadget overload makes sleep a no-go.

Set a limit for television or the Internet. TV and the Internet both have bright screens that can affect a person’s natural sleep patterns and make it harder to fall alseep.To get better sleep, limit the time spent watching TV, being on the computer or playing with other devices that have bright screens such as an iPad or handheld video game — especially in the hour just before bedtime.

More health articles about: Children's Health, Health Education, SleepTags: , ,