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5 Ways Teens Can Get a Full Night's Sleep Easier
Why Can't Teens Fall Asleep?
It's not that they don't want to-- in fact, most of my classmates prefer getting sleep to staying up late. But unfortunately, during teenage years, it's hard to get the recommended eight and a half to nine and a half hours of sleep. Unfortunately, it's very hard to get that time in, especially during the school week.
Teens are programmed to sleep in and stay up late. Their circadian rhythms, or internal clocks are set later than adults' internal clocks. This is possibly because melatonin is produced later in teens.
Problems from Lack of Sleep
Sleep is important for many things, including being better emotionally, in school and in sports. Not getting enough sleep can affect teens in all aspects of their life. Some effects from lack of sleep are:
- Impaired Learning
- Impaired Driving
- High-Risk Behaviors (drugs and alcohol)
- Emotions and Moodiness
All of these affect our lives and can even cost us our lives. When you're not getting enough sleep, there are bigger consequences than spending some time studying your bedroom ceiling.
Ways to Help Get to Sleep
- Lose the technology. The light from electronic screens late at night can disrupt circadian rhythm and push the internal clock even later. Experts say that you should un-plug at least half an hour before going to bed. Instead of looking at an electronic screen, do something relaxing to help you sleep like reading, listening to music, or yoga instead.
- Get into a Routine. Doing the same things every night before bed sends signals to the body that you are getting ready to go to sleep which helps you fall asleep faster.
- Consistency in Going to Sleep and Waking Up. If you have a regular sleep pattern, your circadian rhythm will adjust easier to when you have to go to sleep and when you have to wake up, which is why going to bed unusually early or late can often be difficult because it contradicts your circadian rhythm.
- Avoid Caffeine. In the afternoons, especially. Even tiny amounts found in green tea and hot chocolate can keep you awake when all you really want to do is go to sleep.
- Make Your Bedroom More Easy to Sleep In. This is definitely a good one to have. Messy bedrooms with things on the bed and electronics in the room can keep people from going to sleep. In addition to being clean, bedrooms need to be dark and quiet during sleep.
Sleeping is as important to a healthy lifestyle as diet and exercise, and it's as especially important in teens, who are recommended to get at least two more hours of sleep than adults. Getting the right amount will help improve health and wellness and it is important to get.
National Sleep Foundation. "What Happens When My Child of Teen Doesn't Get Enough Sleep?". March 3, 2014. http://sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/what-happens-when-my-child-or-teen-doesn%E2%80%99t-get-enough-sleep/page/0%2C1/
Parents 4 Success. "Tips to Help Teens Get a Good Night's Sleep". 2013. http://www.parent4success.com/tips-to-help-teens-get-a-good-nights-sleep/
Kid's Health. "Sleep Problems in Teens". August 2014. http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/sleep/sleep_problems.html#