Sleep Habits of Teenagers
It’s already hard enough for adults to get their beauty rest each night. Teenagers struggle with their shut eye just as much, if not more, and the lack of sleep can greatly affect their moods, brain function, and even their health itself.
Is Your Teen Getting Enough Sleep?
Sleep deprivation is very real among teenagers. It affects many things in their day to day lives. They can’t focus in class, show signs of aggression and short tempers, and are overall clumsier. It also affects their performance, in school, sports, and life in general. Unfortunately, a lot of this has to do with their poor sleep habits.
Does your teen exhibit the following? If so, it might mean they aren’t getting very good sleep.
- Indecisiveness or poor judgment
- Slow reflexes
- Bad grades or lowered academic success
- Decreased interest or enthusiasm
- Short attention span
- Poor memory
- Inability to focus
- Increased anger
- Increased amount of sick days
Many parents think that if their teen shows any of these signs, they should be automatically diagnosed with ADHD. It could mean, however, that your young adult might just need more sleep than what they are currently getting.
What Causes Poor Sleep Habits In Teenagers?
We live in a very fast paced world, with the ability to get information, news, social standings, and messages quicker than a heartbeat, all at our fingertips at any hour of any day. This life of instant gratification leads to the top reason parents feel lead to their teen’s poor sleep habits: being unable to put down their electronics.
It is an addiction, and a very unhealthy one. Another is overconsumption of caffeine, a very real problem for adults and teens alike. Caffeine is a stimulant, and as many people become dependent on it to get through their days, they drink more and more to feel the effects. Late night cram sessions for classes and staying up late to socialize are just two reasons teens overconsume on caffeine. The effect on their bodies, unfortunately, lasts a lot longer than the substance itself.
Caffeine causes headaches, rapid heart rates, high blood pressure, and the inability to fall asleep normally. No wonder so many teens can’t get to bed on time.
How to Ensure Your Teen Is Sleeping Well
True, it could be as easy as saying “go to bed earlier.” But as parents, we all know things aren’t often that simple. We need to truly scrutinize our children’s sleep habits, whether they are infants, toddlers, adolescents, or teenagers. Sometimes even our adult children need our help figuring out just why the have been feeling “off.”
Thankfully, the steps to take to figure out if it truly is their sleep habits start off quite plainly:
- Limit electronic use before bed.
- Do not allow electronics to charge in the bedroom.
- Put a physical lock/ban on electronics after a certain time of day.
- Ensure a healthy and filling meal is consumed for dinner.
- Don’t allow sugary drinks past lunchtime, and definitely don’t allow them in the bedroom.
- Stimulate their brains before bed in different ways, such as in depth conversation or reading (actual books, not tablets!).
There are other tactics, too, that help regulate your teen’s sleep habits:
- Ensure their sleep schedule stays the same, even on days off.
- Don’t allow daytime naps,
- Create bedtime routines that encourage low stimulation and low light – even take out sound machines and music and instead use fans.
- Discourage caffeine consumption past the early hours.
Your Teen’s Sleep Habits Can Make or Break Them
At the end of the day, to ensure a proper and healthy sleep habit that positively affects the rest of your life, it is important to take responsibility of one’s own life. Put down the cell phone, unplug the iPad, and instead focus on your health. No one enjoys feeling exhausted, and no one benefits from it – except the caffeine industry, of course.
If you need help talking to your teen about their sleep habits, or would like some input on your own, please consult one of our dentists today. Not only can they give helpful tips, but they can also diagnose other things, such as night time grinding or sleep apnea, that could be affecting your sleep or that of your teen’s.
As always, we at Affiliated Dentists are here for you and your family. Don’t hesitate to contact us today with any questions or concerns.
The information on this blog is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only.