7 Tips for Better Sleep in Children and TeensPick the Brain


Children,
teens, and adults all need to get enough sleep in order to perform well and
maintain good health. Kids and young adults from the ages of puberty to 22
should sleep for approximately nine hours per day, according to the Child
Mind Institute
.
However, in a busy world full of academic pressure, after-school activities, time
with friends, and technology, quality sleep time often suffers.

Sleeplessness can promote anxiety and affect well-being. In fact, 70% of teens (ADAA) report experiencing anxiety before the age of 22. Not only does a lack of sleep affect a young person’s mental health, but it can also have an impact on their physical health as well. It’s so important to ensure that kids and teens are prioritizing sleep for a happy, healthy life.

The
following are seven tips that parents can use to help their kids enjoy restful
sleep consistently.

1.
Keep Them on a Schedule

It’s
no fun to have to nag your kids to go to bed on time, but maintaining a
consistent sleep schedule is crucial for preventing sleep problems and avoiding
chronic sleep deprivation.

For
kids and younger adolescents, it can be a bit easier to enforce a standard
bedtime. For teens, though, you may have to work a bit harder. Talk to your
teen about why sleep is so important. Preventing problems like depression,
anxiety, and poor academic performance are just a few reasons that might compel
a teenager to go to bed on time.

2.
Limit Your Kid’s Screen Time

For
most of us, our screens are causing at least a few problems when it comes to
getting enough sleep. Research shows that excessive screen time
reduces melatonin production
, which is a hormone that aids in sleep.

Detaching
adolescents from their phones is extremely difficult, but it’s important to
have your kids turn off their screens an hour before bed. Cutting off the blue light
from the screen will help them fall asleep faster and improve the quality of
their sleep. And yes, this should be a family rule that all the adults follow
too!

3.
Compel Them to Eat Healthy Foods

Keeping
to a schedule means more than setting a bedtime. It also means keeping meals on
a regular schedule so that late-night snacking doesn’t interfere with sleep. Junk
food that’s full of sugar and simple carbohydrates are the worst culprits.

One
of the best ways to reduce unhealthy snacking is to serve healthy meals on a
set schedule and to keep junk food out of the house. You might get some
complaints, but you’ll all sleep more soundly and feel better.

4.
Try Over-the-Counter Melatonin

Some
sleep aids create dependency, but melatonin is a natural choice that won’t pose
any risks to your children. Of course, you should consult a physician first,
but over-the-counter melatonin may help your kids enjoy more restful sleep,
especially during the teen years when their bodies seem to be on a totally
different sleep schedule than the rest of the world. 2-3 mg should be taken 1-2
hours before bed for the best results.

5.
Help Your Kids to Develop Good Sleep Habits While They’re Young

Setting
expectations and boundaries around screen time, bedtime, and studying before
children enter adolescence is extremely helpful in creating good sleep habits.
Getting those habits established before the social and academic pressures of
junior high and high school come into play can really make a difference in
ensuring that your children are well-rested throughout their childhood and teen
years.

6.
Keep Them Active

We
all need regular exercise to stay healthy. Not only does physical activity
boost our mood and help us stay healthy, but it can also help us to wind down
and sleep better.

Kids
might prefer to stay inside and play on their devices, but it’s important to
keep them active. Sixty minutes a day is a good baseline.
Exercising too close to bedtime won’t help them fall asleep, but some
after-school activity (perhaps a family jog or yoga session?) can set the stage
for a good night’s sleep.

7.
Create a Restful Environment

Bright
lights and loud music aren’t the best options for bedtime. It’s important to
make your child’s bedroom restful and comfortable. Keep the temperature cool,
and give them a healthy snack before bed if they’re too hungry to sleep. Make
sure the room is dark enough and encourage a low-key activity like reading
before bedtime.

Take Charge and Be a
Good Role Model

You
may need to get creative in motivating your kids to get more sleep, but it’s
well worth the effort. The effects of chronic sleep deprivation are alarming
and can affect kids and teens in all areas of their life. It’s important to
take charge and provide the tools to help your kids get enough rest.

Finally,
you need to walk the walk yourself. Your kids will quickly notice if you’re
still pulling all-nighters or bringing your phone to bed. Be a good role model
and use the motivation to help your kids sleep as a way to get more rest
yourself. It’s a win-win for the whole family!


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