Sleep deprivation in teens is common. There is so much they want to do and see and learn and for your teen, sleep is the last thing on the priority list. From talking to friends on the phone to watching television to surfing the Web, everything is more important than sleep. You know your teens need more sleep but how much sleep do teens need and how can you keep teen sleep deprivation from becoming a real problem in your home?
The first thing to check out is how your teen sleeps when they do go to sleep. Identifying teen sleep disorders can be difficult because they spend so much time trying to avoid sleep altogether. Focusing on teen sleep patterns can help you determine if your teen sleep problems are normal and caused by not prioritizing sleep, or if you are looking at a bigger problem with your teens and sleeping disorders may be a part of that.
When looking at teen sleeping habits, check the same things that might cause problems for an adult:
• Does your teen eat right before bed?
• When your teen is asleep do they wake up multiple times in the night for a bathroom break, or a snack, or even with a gasping of air? If they wake up gasping, you may be looking at a case of sleep apnea and should consult your doctor as soon as possible.
• What kind of pillow is your teen using? Does it support the neck and head properly and align the body?
• When was the last time your teen replaced his or her pillows? If your teen is using the same pillow they used a couple of years ago, you’re going to want to shop for a new pillow. It can make a dramatic difference in the quality of sleep your teen is getting.
• How about laundry – when were the sheets and pillowcases last washed? The build up of allergens on the pillowcases and sheets can contribute to sleep problems because of allergens in the fabric.
Teen sleeping problems get worse as there are more distractions to keep them awake, like video games and caffeinated beverages. To make sure your teens don’t have a real problem, with sleeping disorders, keep them on a routine where they always go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time. This one step can help your teen get a better night’s sleep and feel more well rested when they wake up.