Teenagers need about 9 hours of sleep to function at their best, but only about 8% of American teenagers are getting the sleep they need and, according to a recent study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, more than half (59%) are suffering from severe sleep deprivation, meaning six or fewer hours of sleep most school nights. The Child Mind Institute has a Parent’s Guide to Teenagers and Sleep that covers why teens are sleep deprived, what the consequences are, and how parents can help their teen get more sleep.
The Child Mind Institute also has an article that goes into depth about how you can help your teen get more sleep. There is a lot of evidence that parents can play a critical role in helping their child set limits on bedtime, study time, and media usage, though with teenagers’ desire for autonomy, you can expect some pushback if you haven’t started these limits when they were younger. Among the things you can do to help your teenager develop better sleep habits:
- Be consistent, even on the weekend (with a little flexibility)
- Screens off an hour before bed
- Limit the after-dinner snacking
- Consider a low dose of melatonin to jumpstart normal sleeping patterns
- Be realistic with their activities and don’t overschedule
- Set a good example
- Streamline mornings
- Focus on productivity to maximize the time available to sleep
- The bed is just for sleeping
Find out more about these ways to help your teen get more sleep by reading the article at Child Mind Institute and read or download their Parent’s Guide to Teenagers and Sleep.
Photo © 2007 by Becka Spence under Creative Commons license.