Adolescence is a developmental period when teens mentally and physically transition into adulthood. During this developmental period, teens need adequate sleep for not just mental processes needed for academic success, like focus, concentration, problem-solving, and creativity, but also for healthy decision-making and a lower risk of health issues, accidents, and injuries. Without enough rest, teens may have trouble paying attention, focusing on tasks, and retaining new information - all of which can lead to lowered performance in school. Worse, regularly missing out on sleep can increase their risk of heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, obesity, and depression. Unfortunately, most teens are not getting enough sleep. While the United States government has aimed to increase how much sleep teens get each night, there are some things that adolescents can do to ensure they get the sleep they need.
Create Healthy Sleep Habits
In order to help teens create healthy sleep habits, parents must ensure their teens have a restful environment to sleep in each night. This means limiting distractions in the bedroom, such as a TV or laptop, and allowing for a comfortable temperature. It also means setting up a consistent bedtime routine that will help teens wind down from the day’s activities. This routine might include reading an enjoyable book, taking a bath, or drinking a cup of tea. Additionally, parents may need to set limits on activities that might interfere with the amount of sleep teens get each night, such as late-night movies, TV, and Internet use.
Employ Sleep Hygiene Practices
In addition, sleep hygiene practices can help teens get the rest they need. Sleep hygiene is a term used to describe the practices that can contribute to getting a good night sleep. This includes avoiding caffeine late in the day, avoiding alcohol in the evening, and avoiding heavy meals within 3 hours of bedtime. Trying to fall asleep in the dark is also important, as is using the bed for sleep and sex only.
Invest in Snoring and Sleep Apnea Related Treatment
In some cases, teens’ snoring or sleep apnea may be cause for concern. Snoring is often harmless, but if it causes disruption to the teen’s quality of sleep, then they may need to see a doctor to determine the cause and if treatment is necessary. Treatments may include anti-snoring mouthpieces and mouthguards, CPAP machines, home sleep tests, and other types of treatment, depending on the cause and severity of the issue.
Getting enough sleep is important for teens, and there are many habits they can implement to ensure they achieve a good night’s sleep. With the right environment, habits, and treatments, teens can enjoy the benefits of healthy sleep habits and reduce any health risks and lowered performance in school.