Sleep can be a vexatious issue for some parents: the amount of time spent trying to get kids to sleep, worrying about kids not sleeping, being woken up by kids who should be sleeping…it goes on and on!
It’s an important issue for parents of teens too. The sleep-wake cycle for teenagers is delayed by up to two hours. That is, they are sleepy later and awake later than when they were children. Many teenagers today are sleep deprived because they don’t get enough sleep. They need between nine and 10 hours sleep each night, yet most get about seven or eight hours sleep.
Sleep experts have noted that children who develop good sleep patterns tend to carry these into adolescence.
So here are 5 tips for good sleep habits, and 5 extra tips for teens to help manage their changing sleep cycle.
Good sleep habits include:
- Regular bed-times Kids may fight this, but be regular during the week and let kids stay up a little later on weekends.
- Have a wind-down time of up to 45 minutes prior to bed. This includes, removing TV and other stimuli, calming children down, and limiting food intake (and caffeine for teens).
- An established bedtime routine that makes the brain associate behaviour such as cleaning your teeth and reading in bed with sleep.
- Keeping bedrooms for sleep and not for TV. Bedrooms that resemble caves seem to be recommended.
- Maximising the three sleep cues of: darkness (cave-like bedroom), lowering body temperature (baths can be good for this) and melatonin (work within their cycle).
Sleep tips for teens:
- Allow them to catch up on lost sleep during the weekends.
- Help your young person schedule their after school activities to free up more time for rest.
- Discuss ways to limit stimulating activities such as television and computer around bedtime. Encourage restful activities such as reading.
- Afternoon naps are good ways to recharge their batteries.
- Make sure they go to bed early each Sunday night to prepare for the coming week.
Know someone who would benefit from these sleep tips? Be sure to share. Here’s to great parenting and happy kids!
NB: For more parenting tips and tricks from Michael, be sure to check out the Parenting Ideas website.
A popular presenter, Michael Grose speaks to parents, teachers and principals on a regular basis.Michael comes from an education background, and has conducted post-graduate research into what makes healthy families tick.He's given over 1500 parenting presentations, including the first parenting seminar in Parliament House, Canberra.Michael is married with three adult children who have all successfully flown the parent nest.