Ensuring that teenagers get enough quality sleep can be quite challenging for parents. The allure of TikTok, Youtube and Discord, busy schedules, and every day stress often lead teens to compromise on their sleep, which can have detrimental effects on their physical and mental well-being.
As a concerned mom, you play a crucial role in helping your teenage children establish healthy sleep habits but its not easy. We discuss why sleep is so important for teens, discuss practical strategies to encourage teenagers to put their phones away, examine the role of temperature in sleep quality, and provide comprehensive tips, including natural remedies, to ensure your kids are well-rested.
The Importance of Sleep for Teenagers
Sleep is a fundamental aspect of overall health and well-being. During adolescence, the body and brain undergo significant growth and development, making sleep even more essential. A new study found that when sleep is restricted to 5 hours per night, heart rate and blood pressure worsen over the course of the week in young men. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/key_disorders.html
Adequate sleep promotes cognitive function, emotional resilience, and physical growth. We feel the same…we dont sleep and we’re gross and two cups of Starbucks soon join the first two we had in the morning.
How many times do you feel that your cognitive function, including memory and decision-making, is impaired on days following inadequate sleep? Sleep is essential for memory consolidation, problem-solving, and attention.
Unfortunately, many teenagers fall short of the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep per night, which can result in various issues, including poor academic performance, mood swings, and an increased risk of mental health disorders. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/teens-and-sleep
The iPhone Conundrum: Tiktok on Teen Sleep
One of the most common challenges in helping teens achieve better sleep is the presence of smartphones, especially at night. The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the body's production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. TikTok is highly engaging, making it difficult for teenagers to put their phones down and wind down before bed. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleep-newzzz/201901/what-modern-science-says-about-teen-sleep
Some Tips Encourage Teenagers to Put Their Phones Away
- Set a Pre-Bedtime Phone Curfew: Establish a rule that phones need to be turned off or put away at least an hour before bedtime. In our house, we collect devics at 8pm and everyone has to drop their iPhones in. What about homework? Well use the MacBook but it has to be in an open area and get it done as early as possible (yes not easy).
- What you are trying to do is reduce exposure to blue light and encourage your teenager's brain to wind down.
- Create a Charging Station Outside the Bedroom: Designate a central charging station for phones outside your teenager's bedroom. This prevents the temptation of checking their devices during the night and helps maintain a sleep-conducive environment. Sometimes it’s necessary to lock it up till the morning and many conflicts can rise.
- Discuss the Importance of Wind-Down Time: Have an open conversation with your teen about the importance of winding down before sleep. Encourage activities like reading, journaling, or listening to calming music (not on Spotify) as alternatives to screen time.
Apart from addressing smartphone usage, another crucial factor influencing sleep quality is the room temperature. The body's temperature naturally drops as you fall asleep, and maintaining the right room temperature can support this process.
A room that's too warm might lead to discomfort and night sweats, while a room that's too cold can cause restlessness and difficulty falling asleep. The ideal sleep environment is usually between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 20 degrees Celsius), as it promotes a comfortable and uninterrupted night's rest.
Natural Remedies to Support Better Sleep
Certain natural remedies can aid in promoting restful sleep:
- Chamomile Tea: A warm cup of chamomile tea before bedtime can have calming effects and help induce sleepiness.
- Lavender Aromatherapy: Using lavender essential oil in a diffuser or as a pillow spray can create a relaxing environment conducive to sleep.
- Valerian Root: Valerian root supplements are known for their potential to improve sleep quality and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.
- Magnesium: This mineral can help relax muscles and calm the nervous system. Encourage magnesium-rich foods like nuts, seeds, and leafy greens.
- Warm Bath: I read that a warm bath before bed can help lower stress levels and prepare your teen for sleep, but good luck, just getting a shower is a win.
- Do What Works: The easiest for us has been a little Chamomile, and on the weekends with some CBD added.
It’s stressful being a mom and it takes dedication and perseverance to develop good sleep habits for your teen. Implementing practical strategies to limit phone usage before bedtime, creating a comfortable sleep environment with the right temperature, and exploring natural remedies and you're taking significant steps towards ensuring their restful sleep.