If you have a teenage son or daughter, chances are you’ve seen many strange behaviors related to the phrase “sleep habits.” Unfortunately, “good” or “healthy” are probably not the top adjectives you would choose to pair up with that phrase.
And, while some of those changes are caused by naturally fluctuating hormones, puberty and brain development, it’s still critical that sleep needs are met. That’s why your family health care Benbrook TX sleep experts (locations also in Lewisville, Bedford, Justin & Boyd) are going to share some statistics on common teen sleep disturbances as well as recommendations for better, healthier sleep habits.
Teenage Sleep Guidelines
The recommended amount of sleep for teens (ages 13 To 18) is 8-10 hours per 24-hour period. As our world becomes more and more inundated with technology, this sleep requirement becomes even more important. Teens’ natural changes in circadian rhythms also make that a bit challenging.
That’s why it’s important to understand that, when we refer to sleep, we are talking about not only the amount but also the quality. High quality sleep is defined by four characteristics:
- Amount of time you are sleeping in your bed
- How quickly you fall asleep
- How frequently you wake up during the night
- Length of time awake during sleep interruptions
Ideally, experts suggest teens meet the following criteria: 85% or more of the time spent in bed being sleep time, fall asleep in under 30 minutes, wake up no more than once and keep sleep interruptions under 20 minutes.
Benefits of Healthy Sleep for Teens
Did you know that studies have found that too little [as well as too much] sleep is directly related to teens participating in high-risk behaviors? In addition to that, the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that poor sleep habits can also increase the chances of injuries, hypertension, obesity and depression. However, on the flip side, teens who meet their sleep requirements on a regular basis can see improvements in:
- Quality of life
- Emotional regulation
- Mental health
- Physical health
Keep in mind, these benefits aren’t just for teens. Our physicians at the family medicine Benbrook TX clinic (locations also in Lewisville, Bedford, Justin & Boyd) encourage you to practice healthy sleep habits along with your teen. Quality sleep is important for everyone!
Tips for Better Sleep
Change is hard for anyone, but it’s especially challenging for teens who already have quite a bit of pressure coming their way from a variety of different sources. Before imposing dramatic schedule changes on your teen, we suggest giving him or her some ownership of the shift by sharing statistics and resources about the benefits of healthy sleep habits.
Part of that conversation can include ideas for changing unhealthy sleep patterns. Some of the tips you can share with your teen for creating healthy sleep habits include:
- Good sleep & consistency go hand in hand; try keeping the same bedtime and wake up time all seven days of the week.
- Set up an appointment with your family physician to discuss healthy sleep habits.
- Create a bedtime routine that you find relaxing.
- Try to reduce your intake of caffeine, water and food late at night.
- Incorporate regular physical activity in your day.
- Give yourself 20 minutes in your bed to fall asleep; if you’re still awake after that, get out of bed and try again after a bit.
- Turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before you begin your bedtime routine.
Finally, we thought we’d share with you a few of our favorite healthy sleep habit helpers. Hopefully you find them as beneficial as we do!
- White Noise Lite (iOS/Android): Comes with 30+ loops of ambient noises plus a feature that allows you to create your own ambient noise loop.
- 10-minute Wind Down Yoga with Adrian: Adding yoga to your bedtime routine can be incredibly beneficial to quality and quantity of sleep.
- Go pillow shopping: Check out the Sleep Foundation’s annual review of the best pillows of the year – the right pillow makes a big difference.
- Weighted blanket: Helpful for insomnia AND anxiety, a weighted blanket gives us sleepy thoughts just writing about it!
Whether it’s teenage sleep struggles or aging parent health concerns and anything in-between, we’re here to support you through it all. We have physicians currently accepting new patients at all five of our convenient Texas locations. Call today to schedule your first appointment with a staff that truly cares.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article does not constitute medical advice, nor does reading or accessing this information create a patient-provider relationship. Comments that you post will be shared with all visitors to this page. All comments are not governed by HIPAA and you should not post any private health information.