Help your Teen Develop Good Sleep Habits

by Carolyn Ramirez, Project Launch Coordinator, The Launch Pad Teen Center

Teenagers are known to be somewhat moody, and it makes a lot of sense when you look at what they are up against.

Between the ages of 13 and 18, teens are experiencing various challenges socially, physically and emotionally. These challenges are just a normal part of adolescent development.

However, there are healthy habits teens can incorporate into their daily routines to combat these challenges — one being getting regular, good quality sleep.

Quality sleep for teens means 8 to 10 hours per night. A teenager’s body must move through complete sleep cycles to gain all the benefits of a good night’s sleep. Getting consistent quality sleep positively affects a teen’s mood, academic performance, social behaviors, overall development, and much more.

The crux of the matter here is that the aspects of a teen’s life that can be improved by better sleep also prevent many from getting good sleep.

According to The National Sleep Foundation, teens are not consistently getting enough quality sleep. This may be due to a busy schedule, early school days and overuse of technology. They may stay up late at night, wake up early for school, and possibly sleep all weekend to compensate for the lack of sleep throughout the week.

A healthy routine includes:

  • Prioritizing sleep.
  • Creating a routine that allows for 8-10 hours of sleep, school days and weekends.
  • Avoiding caffeine in the afternoons, before bed.
  • Creating an evening routine that promotes relaxation — perhaps some light stretching, breathing exercises or meditation.
  • Eliminating screen time before bed. Try reading or listening to a podcast.
  • Creating a calming environment in your bedroom; keeping your bedroom cool and dark while you sleep.

Parents should consider the role they play in their teens’ lives. Maintaining a good balance of sternness and flexibility leads to responsible parenting. For example, it may be more important for your teen to have the opportunity to wind down the night before a big test and
get a good night’s sleep than cramming in a long night of studying. After all, getting good sleep can positively influence academic performance.

By adopting healthy sleep habits as a teenager, a person already is ahead of the game and will, hopefully, continue those habits throughout adulthood.