As kids enter their teen years, their sleep needs begin to change. While it's recommended that teens get between eight and 10 hours of sleep a night, most get seven hours or less, often leading to irritability, moodiness, inability to focus in school and a host of other problems.
Additionally, many teens are stretched pretty thin, spending time on their studies, sports, after-school activities, socializing and part-time jobs. They're running around from the moment they get out of bed until their head hits the pillow later that night. But even the busiest kids have trouble with sleep hygiene, whether it's because they're staying on their phone or computers at all hours of the night, or they're stressing out over tomorrow's exam.
While good sleep hygiene is important for everyone, teens, who are already going through social and hormonal changes, will certainly benefit. The most important - and often most difficult - tip for how to improve sleep is following a routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day trains the body to know when it's time to fall asleep at night and helps teens get the consistent amount of Zs. Stick to the routine even on the weekends. Sleeping in on Sunday morning will keep you up later that night, and can make for a miserable Monday.
Other ways to practice good sleep hygiene for teens:
- 1. Stay away from caffeine, including sodas and chocolate, from late afternoon on.
- 2. Daily exercise can help teens fall asleep faster.
- 3. Spend time outdoors. According to CHOC's Children's, a hospital in California, sun exposure helps to regulate the body's internal clock.
- 4. Be mindful of eating habits. Don't go to bed on an empty stomach, but don't overdo it on sweets and heavy foods before hitting the sack, either.