• Alex Jarvis

Need to Help Your Teens Sleep Better?





Quality sleep is a critical aspect of teen health especially that this is a formative period in their life. Sleep deprivation, therefore, can make it harder for your teen to regulate emotions, do well at school, pay attention, behave and function well, and get along with others.


Being tired all the time due to lack of sleep can even contribute to mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression.


Let's take a quick review of why teens need sleep. Teenagers need healthy sleeping habits to:


⁄ maintain energy levels

⁄ maintain good physical health

⁄ regulate appetite and stay at a healthy weight

⁄ learn, concentrate, and remember things well

⁄ reduce stress, maintain good mental health, and build resilience

⁄ maintain healthy relationships.


According to sleep scientist Matt Walker, sleep is your life-support system and Mother Nature's best effort yet at immortality. Watch Sleep Is Your Superpower to dive deep into sleep. We’ll understand the good things that happen when you get good sleep –and the alarmingly bad results when you don't.


Moreover, Wendy Troxel sheds light on how severe the problem of sleep deprivation is in this talk: Sleepy Teens: A Public Health Epidemic. Her research, which is supported by the Department of Defense and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, focuses on the interplay of sleep, the social environment, and health, as well as the implications for public policy.

Plus, here's an in-depth Q&A with pediatric sleep expert Lisa Meltzer, PhD on Why Do Teens Sleep Later?


How to Help Teens Get the Sleep They Need


Good daytime habits can help teens get the sleep they need, especially as they enter the late teen years. These habits can also help children avoid or resolve any sleep issues that might come up. Encourage them to try these habits, or try a few things together first, until you find what really works.


1. Sleeping, waking & napping routines


⁄ Keep school days and weekend wake-up times within 2 hours of each other.

This helps in maintaining a regular body clock.

⁄ Instead of staying longer in bed, get out of bed once awake.

⁄ Spend the hour before bedtime avoiding screens and engaging in relaxing activities such as listening to sleep music, reading, or taking a warm shower.

⁄ Limit daytime naps to no more than 20 minutes, and take them in the early afternoon.



2. Sleep environment


⁄ Place devices in living rooms overnight.

⁄ Avoid using electronic devices in the hour before bedtime.

⁄ Assess their sleeping area. A quiet, dimly lit space is essential for good sleep.



3. Good health & nutrition


⁄ Take advantage of as much natural light as possible during the day, particularly in the morning. This will facilitate the body in producing melatonin at the appropriate times during the sleep cycle.

⁄ Eat a healthy breakfast to get the body clock going. This prepares the body for sleep at night.

⁄ Prepare a filling evening meal at a reasonable time. Feeling hungry or overly full before bedtime can make it difficult to sleep.

⁄ Avoid caffeine – found in energy drinks, tea, coffee, cola, and chocolate – especially late in the afternoon and early evening.

⁄ Exercise during the day, but avoid vigorous exercise in the hour before bedtime.



4. Worries, fears & anxiety


⁄ Have your child write down any anxious or sad thoughts before going to bed. Add a possible solution to each thought.

⁄ Discuss their fears & worries with you (or another trusted person) during the day, especially if their worries keep them awake in the night.

⁄ To calm an anxious or active mind before sleeping, try some breathing exercises, mindfulness exercises, or relaxation exercises.

And, note to parents: You can set a good example for your teen by reducing screen time before bed, winding down before bed, relaxing and managing stress, and avoiding consumption of caffeine before bedtime.



If you want to discover more about the changes your teen is going through, as well as the challenges they face, read What Adolescents Really Need?


Need an expert to professionally help your teen with their sleep problems? Book an appointment with JarvisHypnotherapy for consultation. We’re more than happy to help!




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Content credits

Sleep and teenagers: 12-18 years


Photo credits

Teenagers and Sleep: How Much Sleep Is Enough?