Sleep Tips

How to Make Sure Your Teenager Gets Enough Sleep for School

Ask a teenager what is the best part of summer and you'll probably hear that it is staying in bed late in the morning. Then talk with a parent about what is one of the toughest challenges about summer; and she will say it's breaking poor sleep habits when the school year begins.

Did you know 20-25% of school-age children do not get enough sleep, which can affect attention, concentration and activity levels in the classroom?

According to Dr. Ali Al-Himyary, pulmonary critical care and sleep medicine specialist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston, Texas, lack of sleep can also affect growth and development.

A child's body repairs and regenerates tissues, bones and muscle during the delta phase of deep sleep. Dr. Al-Himyary explains that during the important phase of the resting cycle that growth hormones peak during delta sleep.

Although infants get more delta sleep than older kids, it's important for teenagers to pass through all four stages of the sleep cycle as their body continues to grow and develop during adolescent years.

Consequently, there are some medical conditions associated with lack of sleep causing even more problems than typical drowsiness.

Dr. Al-Himyary shared approximately 15% of teenagers have “delayed sleep phase disorder."

“They're night owls," he said. “They are unable to fall asleep when parents ask them to go to sleep. They won't fall asleep until the early hours of the morning. This is a circadian sleep disorder that should be evaluated and treated."

Mattress Firm has a few tips for parents to support their adolescent in getting used to a good night sleep.

  1. Establish a relaxing unwinding routine.“Children need to be able to fall asleep," Dr. Al-Himyary continued. “That means a calm family atmosphere around bedtime. Avoid stimulating activities, like video games, violent movies and hard studying. Also, avoid caffeinated food and beverages after 4 p.m.," he said.
  2. Establish a regular sleep/wake schedule on weekdays, and try to maintain it as best as possible on weekends.Dr. Al-Himyary explained it's fine to allow kids to stay up an extra hour or two at night on weekends, as long as they get up only an hour or two later the next morning. This way, the regular weekday routine is minimally altered while the kids still maintain required hours of sleep.
  3. Setting up your child's bedroom to encourage healthy sleeping.Removing the television or gaming systems from the room, setting a cool, comfortable temperature and using a dimmed nightlight (if needed) will create a tranquil sleep space.

"As kids grow they need enough space to move around comfortably in order to achieve a good night's sleep," according to the Better Sleep Council. “If a mattress is no longer comfortable for you, it's not good enough for someone else, especially your child," the council said.

Avoid passing down mattresses from one kid to the other or from your bed to theirs. With extra time during the summer months, it may be worth taking a trip to a local Mattress Firm store to see what inventory they may have on hand at that location for your growing teenager.

Although challenging at times, these are the years you have a valuable impact on teaching your son or daughter healthy, sleep habits while they are still in your nest. Don't miss this opportunity! For more helpful tips, check out more information across The Daily Doze.

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