Did you know that teenagers require about 9 1/4 hours of sleep each night? That’s more than adults need and even more than the required amount for kids ages nine to ten. This seems very counterintuitive to many parents, who allow their teenagers a later bedtime than their younger kids.
Consequences of Not Enough Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can affect your teen’s ability to concentrate, solve problems, listen, and pay attention, which can cause them difficulties in school and work. It can affect their behavior, causing them to be irritable or aggressive. This kind of behavior will certainly have an impact on their relationships.
Lack of sleep can also lead to health and safety issues. Poor sleep can cause susceptibility to illness, and a sleepy teenager behind the wheel can be deadly. Bad sleep habits can even cause acne and other skin problems!
Ways to Get Adequate Sleep
There are measures your teen can take to improve their chances of getting enough sleep. Keeping a regular sleep routine is a good start. Many teens stay up later and sleep in longer on the weekends, which makes it even more difficult to regulate their sleep during the week and also affects their biological clock. Your teen may want to consider taking a nap after school. Be careful naps don’t occur too close to bedtime, as this will likely cause them to have problems sleeping through the night.
Encourage your teen to cut down on caffeine before bedtime. Getting daily exercise will also aid in regulating sleep patterns and help to ensure restful slumber. Like caffeine intake, exercise is not recommended too close to bedtime, as this will only get your teen keyed up and will inhibit sleep.
You may want to share this article from the National Sleep Foundation with your teenager. He or she can read more about the importance of sleep, and reading the information may be more meaningful to him or her than just hearing it from mom and dad.
How much sleep does your kid currently get? Do you have any advice for helping other parents improve their teenager’s sleep habits?