Our teenagers face far more pressures than we know of– the anxieties to ace in school, homework demands, worries about scholarships and higher studies. In the same way, making time for extracurricular activities and dealing with all the emotional problems that come with the age tell upon the health of the students. The list is now ever growing with bullying, self-esteem issues, and peer pressure. The demands on their mind can cause them to react in defiant behaviors or succumb to mental health issues. An increasing number of teenagers are losing out on their prescribed nine hours of perfect sleep due to their hectic schedules.
Sleep- the Panacea to This Ill
One of the biggest weapons against stress and anxiety is allowing the mind to rest and recharge for the next day. Sleep deprivation is a huge contributing factor to mental illnesses and breakdown of the mind. As parents, teachers, guardians, and friends, we have an obligation to see the warning signs of students who display lack of sleep symptoms and reach out to them. These symptoms may include drowsiness, excessive yawning, irritability, dark circles, fatigue, and depression.
Sleep deprivation can limit their ability to learn, absorb and function optimally. It can make them more forgetful and can cause their grades to start slipping. Excessive stress and lack of sleep can also manifest on to their skin in the form acne and other skin problems. It can cause them to eat excessively and thereby gain weight. Long-term ramifications include aggression, depression and lack of enthusiasm. These effects can have a considerable toll on their academic and sporting performances. This only increases the pressure on their minds and end up causing many more sleepless nights. The vicious circle will continue until the problem at the source is contained.
The measures to attain that calm
There are many conscious actions that can be undertaken for a perfect night of sleep. These simple measures will help form positive habits that can be carried over for life. Here are five ways to help your teenager sleep better:
Set a sleep schedule
Setting a sleep schedule is one of the first steps towards consciously aiming to sleep better. Different age groups require a prescribed number of sleeping hours to optimally rest their minds. For example, toddlers need to get about ten to fourteen hours of sleep to restore energy to the body. A teenager needs about nine hours of uninterrupted sleep. Use of a simple sleep calculator can help you gauge the number of hours your teenager needs to sleep every night. They can then plan their homework, activities and so on around the new sleep schedule. This scheduling will also instill a sense of discipline in other areas of their life.
Eliminate screen time before bed
Living in the age of social media, they are lured to keep glancing at their phones to check the number of likes on their latest picture or watch copious amounts of content from influencers. However, the light from their backlit screens can interfere with sleeping patterns and keep them awake at night. It might do a whole lot of good to eliminate any screen time in bed. It is important to remind them that they can always catch up on viral trends the next day when they are refreshed and ready to go.
While it might be hard for them to find the time to exercise regularly, it is an important requirement for the holistic development of the body and also additionally aids in a good night’s rest. An hour of activity every day can make a lot of difference to the mind and body. However, ensure they avoid heavy activity right before bedtime and save those sweat busters for the day.
Eat right, sleep right
As teenagers, their bodies are still growing, and they need all the energy they can get. However, with caffeinated products like sodas and sugary treats available in every store, it becomes hard to monitor what they eat. Teaching them to avoids such foods can help improve sleep patterns and also make their overall health better.
Identify and target sleep disruptions
Teenagers are more prone to nightmares and it can cause chronic sleep deprivation. Nightmares are the body’s way of acting out emotions that one has experienced throughout the day. Talking about issues plaguing their minds with a confidante or a family member is a great way to get emotional relief from the happenings of the day. If they face other problems like sleep apnea or snoring, a simple alteration in sleeping position can be the answer. For example, sleeping on your back is not ideal for people suffering from sleep apnea or snoring. Sleeping on the side is a better position to open up the airways. Sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea are known to cause depression so preventive care in such cases is extremely crucial.
Lend the Ears, Mind, and Soul
It is imperative to remember the journey we had in our teen years and the emotional rollercoaster it had been for us. Creating a judgment-free zone can encourage them to open up about their issues. If we can relieve some of their pressures and help them sleep well at night, we are doing them a huge service in the long run.
And, Also the Professional Help
If you see a persistent problem with their sleep patterns, do not hesitate to discuss this with a licensed professional. Sleep doctors can provide tools and tips to battle disruptions and tackle a concern before it becomes a serious problem. Therapists are another way to achieve emotional relief from troubles they wouldn’t want to discuss with you. These professionals are educated and trained to handle a variety of issues. So, you must desert any stigma, beforehand. Providing top-notch care for your teenager should be your priority rather than obsessing about the problems they face.
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