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Last Updated on October 28, 2019 by Diane Hoffmaster
Most teens don't get enough sleep. They are often over scheduled, stressed out, and too plugged in to electronics. As a result, adolescent sleep disorders are on the rise. If you have teens who have trouble sleeping, you are certainly not alone. Here are a few tips to get your sleep deprived teenager to sleep better.
Should my teenager have a bedtime?
The question of teenage bed times is a tricky one. Teens need to become independent and learn to make their own choices in life. However, they are also known for making bad choices like playing Minecraft until 3 AM. The effects of sleep deprivation on teenage brains isn't pretty. You may have to step in and help them make good choices.
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For my own teens, they had a 10 PM bedtime during the week. However, if they had a ton of homework, they were not forced to go to bed anyhow. Bedtime was more flexible on the weekends, however, we tried to stay on a fairly normal schedule as much as possible.
How much sleep do teenagers need?
A recent tidbit of information I came across said that teenagers actually need MORE sleep than toddlers. Teens need between 8 and 10 hours of sleep per night for optimal function. Since high school starts early, encourage them to turn off the light as soon as possible. Considering how much sleep they need, solving teenage sleep problems should be high on your list of things to do for your kid.
Without enough sleep, teenagers are more prone to illness and may suffer from a serious lack of attention when it comes to school work. But, how do you get your teens to sleep at night and actually keep them asleep until the alarm goes off? How can you wake up teens without an hour of screaming as they hit the snooze button?
Tips for Solving Teenage Sleep Problems
Here's how to make sure your teen is getting enough sleep to stay healthy and do well at school.
Caffeine keeps mom from falling asleep in the middle of the workday, right? Well, it has the same effect on your teens. If your teenagers are drinking coffee, soda and energy drinks in the afternoon, falling asleep at a decent hour is going to be tough. If you can't get them to give up their favorite caffeinated beverage, encourage them to try decaf varieties for better sleep habits.
Remove technology from their bedrooms:
Yes, I know it is hard to pry your teen's hand off their mobile device but try to at least keep the TV and computer out of their sleeping space. Encourage them to put the phone down for the 30 minutes before they turn the lights off. Suggest that they read a book or listen to music. This is one tip for solving teenage sleep problems that they will probably fight you on.
Reevaluate their schedule:
If your teen is over scheduled, they will have far too much to do in a very short amount of time. That means bedtime will inevitably get pushed later and later into the evening. Try to limit activities like sports, church and clubs on the weeknights so they don't have to stay up late to do homework. Make sure their schedule allows them to just veg out and relax a bit before jumping into bed. Try to limit weekend napping if at all possible. We have yet to figure this one out!
Try holistic sleep methods:
I am a huge fan of natural sleep solutions. Consider putting an essential oil diffuser in their room and let the oils help lull them to sleep. You may also encourage them to drink a mug of herbal tea before bed that contains chamomile and lavender. These are both great herbs for encouraging healthy sleep habits.
Enforce a realistic bedtime:
My teens insist they are the only kids their age that still have a bedtime. That may be so but since I am in bed by 11 PM, they can be, too. I don't sleep well when I know the house isn't settled so when my light goes off, so does theirs. Is there really any reason to stay up until 3 AM playing video games? NO. Teens who go to bed earlier will also wake up easier the next day. And what parent doesn't want a little less screaming in the morning to stop hitting the snooze button? Raising teenagers is a very fine balancing act!
Early to rise means early to bed:
I know teens love to sleep til lunchtime but that just throws off their sleep cycle even more than it already is. Encourage your teens to get up early if you are dealing with teenage sleep problems. Open their door, open the blinds, get an alarm clock that uses lights, aromatherapy, sound, etc to wake them up. Encourage the dog to lick them til they get out of bed. A glass of cold water will get them moving, although it might also create a lot of yelling. Just get them out of bed earlier and they will naturally fall asleep earlier. Try a sunrise simulating alarm clock if you think that may help.
Teenagers really need to get quite a bit of sleep in order to deal with the stress of school, friends, work and family without having a nervous breakdown. If you think your child has a serious sleeping problem, you may want to talk to their doctor. Check out WebMD for more information about sleep disorders in teens.
Sleep Aids for Teenagers
I'm not a huge fan of prescription teenager insomnia medication. You definitely do not want to get your teenager hooked on sleeping pills. They are habit forming and do not promote long term healthy sleep patterns. So, what can you do to help your teenager sleep better? Here are a few sleep aids for teenagers you might want to try.
All Natural Sleep Remedies for teens
- Herbal teas for Insomnia: Check out these herbal teas for sleep that may help your teen fall asleep faster.
- Supplements for sleep: You can have your teen try magnesium supplements at bedtime. You can also use magnesium oil or magnesium body butter
- Essential oils for sleep: Lavender essential oil in a diffuser may help your teenager fall asleep faster.
- White noise: You can buy a white noise machine specifically designed for this purpose.
Be very careful about any supplements or prescriptions you give them for better sleep. Lifestyle changes are a much better way to encourage teens to sleep better, not only TODAY but for the rest of their lives. Do you have any other tips for dealing with teenage sleep problems? You might also enjoy reading these teen dating tips for parental survival!
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.