Research indicates how teenagers need an average of 9 hours of daily sleep; however, the average American teen reports sleeping around 7 hours daily. A recent NPR article reported on how varied and unpredictable schedules, in addition to stress from school and social activities, can cause teens to have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up. In addition, over fifty-percent of parents believe that their children’s constant use of electronic devices causes sleep problems. Although electronic devices may contribute to the issue, experts suggest that parents should listen and speak to their kids about other barriers to getting good sleep, and how the family can address them. On NPR, researchers Sarah Clark and Mary Carskadon suggest a number of tips on how to improve sleep quality. CHIL has pulled some other tips from various clinics and online resources that can hopefully help you too!
Try to keep the same daily wake-up time: Try also having the same bedtime! When you have consistency in your schedule, it helps set a sleep-wake cycle in your body. Even on weekends, try not to deviate from your schedule by more than an hour.
Do not be hungry or too full when you go to sleep: This can definitely interfere with your sleep quality. If you eat, try to eat a couple hours before you go to bed.
Exercise helps!: When you exercise, your body tends to get better quality sleep and longer sleep. Exercise helps increase the amount of time you spend in deep sleep, which is a sleep phase that helps improve immunity and manage stress. Also, when you exercise and use a lot of energy earlier in the day, your body feels ready to go to sleep by nighttime. The benefits can be even greater when exercise is a regular part of your schedule!
Drink less caffeine or know how to time it: You should not drink caffeine less than 4-6 hours before you go to sleep. Caffeine is a stimulant and can make it harder for you to fall asleep!
Time management is key: School can be stressful, especially with what feels like never-ending work. Experts suggest to section your work into chunks of time during the whole day, such as the extra time you have between two classes or the time you have before a meeting. This may help with efficiency and finishing your work before your bedtime.
Do not nap too late in the day: Napping after 5:00pm makes it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. Also, make sure that your naps are short! Long naps can have you feeling groggy while waking up, or affect your sleep quality at night.
Let us know if you have any additional tips you would like to share!