Teens need plenty of sleep, on average about nine hours per night. Lack of sufficient sleep among teens can lead to a number of issues, including difficulty learning and aggressive behavior. It also increases the risk for acne, eating unhealthy foods, gaining weight and using nicotine and caffeine.
Parents can help instill healthy sleep habits with their teens by helping them follow some guidelines:
• Keep a regular bedtime and wake schedule every day, including weekends.
• Limit screen time to no more than 2 hours per day, including time spent in front of smart phones, tablets, computers and TVs. Screens should be turned off at least 2 hours prior to bedtime.
• Take a 30-minute nap in the early afternoon to boost energy.
• Get plenty of exercise, aiming for 30 to 60 minutes at least four days per week.
• Avoid foods and beverages containing caffeine in the evening, and abstain from drugs and alcohol.
• Have a healthy, light snack before bedtime to avoid going to bed hungry.
• Allow time before bed to wind down and relax.
• Create a clean, relaxing and comfortable bedroom environment that is screen-free.
Many teenagers with sleep problems can be helped by greater parental involvement and a healthy social life, rather than medication. If you think your teen might have a sleep disorder, talk to their doctor about having a CHOC sleep study.