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Catching some Zzzzs

16 Mar

It’s no surprise that teens don’t sleep enough.   What may be surprising is the effects that not getting enough sleep can have on teens.  We all know that teens are naturally moody and sometimes irrational, but how much of this is due to the fact that they don’t get enough sleep?  A lack of sleep can not only negatively alter the mood of teens, but it can reduce your productivity at school (also not very surprising), make them more likely to crave unhealthy foods, and even increase the occurrence of acne!

The National Sleep Foundation had a lot to say about teens and sleep.   Did you know that teens need about 9 1/4 hours of sleep a night?  That means for someone who had school at 8, in order for them to get the right amount of sleep they would need to go to sleep at about 9:30pm to give them at least 45 minutes to get ready and time to get to school.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of one time I went to bed that early in high school.  The article mentioned something that could explain that, and that is during adolescents the body’s biological clock is shifting and so it’s typical for teens to find it difficult to fall asleep before 11:00pm.  Makes sense, huh?!

Because of this, many teens often find themselves struggling with a form of insomnia.  A less severe form of anxiety is called transient insomnia and is usually caused by anxiety.  Teens can often times become anxious about stressful events in their lives, or they can simply become anxious over the fact that they cannot fall asleep, worsening the problem.

The National Sleep Foundation in their article gives a few great suggestions for teens to help them fall asleep earlier and easier.  Some of these are:

  • “Make sleep a priority!…
  • “Make your room a sleep haven.  Keep it cool, quiet and dark. If you need to, get eyeshades or blackout curtains. Let in bright light in the morning to signal your body to wake up.
  • “No pills, vitamins or drinks can replace good sleep. Consuming caffeine close to bedtime can hurt your sleep, so avoid coffee, tea, soda/pop and chocolate late in the day so you can get to sleep at night…
  • “Establish a bed and wake-time and stick to it, coming as close as you can on the weekends. A consistent sleep schedule will help you feel less tired since it allows your body to get in sync with its natural patterns. You will find that it’s easier to fall asleep at bedtime with this type of routine.
  • “Don’t eat, drink, or exercise within a few hours of your bedtime. Don’t leave your homework for the last minute. Try to avoid the TV, computer and telephone in the hour before you go to bed. Stick to quiet, calm activities, and you’ll fall asleep much more easily!
  • “If you do the same things every night before you go to sleep, you teach your body the signals that it’s time for bed. Try taking a bath or shower (this will leave you extra time in the morning), or reading a book.”

What suggestions do you have for getting more sleep?  Have you tried any of these suggestions?  Where they successful?  What other things have you tried in the past that have been successful?

Leave a comment and share your ideas!