For most teenagers, being in tip-top shape, looking their best and always putting forth the best effort means a lot. Believe it or not, there is a lot of mental activity involved in many of the activities; not just school work, that teenagers are part of. Getting enough sleep is something considered old-fashioned or not for me during this age. It may also be cool to stay up longer than anyone else. However, refusing to or just not getting enough sleep is a dangerous thing for anyone not just teenagers, especially when driving.
In addition to mood swings, poor performance in daily activities, extreme delays in reactions, nervousness and aggressive behavior others include:
- Stress in daily living and relationships,
- Memory loss/cognitive impairment,
- Occupational or work injuries,
- Inability to retain information long-term from studies,
- Increases susceptibility to lower grades/performance in school,
- Personal injury
- Automobile injury
Parents if you suspect your teenager is not his/her usual self consider asking if they’re getting enough sleep. You play an important role in making sure they receive the amount of sleep needed for optimal performance on a daily basis, especially during school and while driving. In addition to the ones mentioned above, the following signs are more ways you can tell if your teenager shows signs of lack of sleep:
- Extremely long sleep periods, mainly on the weekends,
- Grades drop drastically in a short period of time,
- Additional stress (this was worth mentioning again),
- Increased irritability throughout the day,
- Difficulty waking up in the morning,
- Increased hunger
Sleep is important for individual health. It is just as important as the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink. All are vital ingredients necessary for our body to function properly. A teenager needs between 8.5 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Sounds like a lot but the amount of energy used during this age requires more rest. A few ways you can help your teenager get to sleep are:
- Create a calm environment in your home near bedtime. In order to support the creation of melatonin (natural chemical created to help you sleep) turn out some of the lights in the house, etc. In the morning when it’s time to get up (to help stop melatonin) open the blinds or turn on the light.
- You can also use white noise to help with sleep as well.
- Restrict caffeine, sweets, sodas, chocolates, and especially heavy meals at least three hours before bedtime,
- Stress avoidance of smoking and alcohol. Both of these interfere with sleep and in many instances lead to insomnia,
- Help shape their schedule so they have time to unwind before bedtime,
- Do support and encourage exercise but make sure it is avoided at least three hours before bedtime. The adrenaline from the workout will prevent sleep,
- Adults, this one is one we should all consider! Give them a diary or journal to take notes before bed. If they take notes before going to bed of things to do the next day they will be less likely to stress about it when trying to sleep,
- Make sure they keep naps to an hour max. Sleep during the day will cause them to stay up longer during the night.
It can be a challenge to figure out exactly what your teen needs in order to get enough sleep. Be sure to contact your family doctor for more tips on what can be done to help them get enough sleep. And contact Aeroflow Pediatric department at 888-345-1780 for questions about teen sleep help and how to improve their quality of sleep with durable medical equipment.