Winter solstice is approaching and nature is embracing slowing down, hibernating, and nesting. The upcoming break from early classes and homework pressure could be opportune for addressing your teen’s overall self-care, and sleep habits, in particular.
We know that teens are wired to stay up at night and sleep in during the day. They seldom get enough sleep. By the time they wind down and sleep, it seems it is almost time to get up for school again. A recent study in the Journal of School Health found that 90% of teens get less than the recommended nightly nine hours of sleep. And 10% reported getting less than six hours a night. Yikes!
Sleep deprivation is never healthy. Sleepy teens have greater difficulty concentrating and a more likely chance of mood swings and behavioral issues. Driving while drowsy is very risky. What can we, as parents, do?
The Mayo Clinic lists some pointers to help our teens get more sleep:
- Dim the lights as it gets closer to bedtime
- Stick to a schedule
- Keep naps short or eliminate them
- Curb caffeine consumption
- Unplug teens from electronics at night
- Make evenings calm
In their article (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/teens-health/CC00019/NSECTIONGROUP=2), they also have ideas to eliminate other potential concerns.
So grab some chat time with your teen this holiday break. Create some guidelines to help him get more sleep. This additional sleep may make a bigger difference than you would imagine. Here’s to well-rested teens!