Sleeping difficulties commonly arise due to physical, mental and social changes taking place in a teenager’s life. The pressures of homework, exams, relationships with friends, social activities, part-time jobs and a host of fluctuating emotions can make it difficult for your teenager to relax at night. In addition to this, their natural sleeping cycle (circadian rhythm) may be out of balance, making it harder for them to fall to sleep at night and wake up early in the morning.
Poor sleep habits from an early age can lead to long term sleep problems. The proliferation of mobile phones and tablets means teenagers feel like they need to be in touch all the time but they also need to understand that ‘switching off’ and indulging in quiet time is really important and actually quite normal. Parents can help by limiting computer time and encouraging an electronic-free bed environment. Keeping regular hours helps the body’s sleep system stay in harmony and promotes feelings of sleepiness and drowsiness when your body is ready for sleep. Therefore, where possible, wake up at the same time each morning and go to bed at the same time every night. Heat, light and noise can impact on our ability to get off to sleep and increase the chances that we wake in the night. Even if we don’t realise that is the reason for us being awake. Making sure the bedroom is cool, dark and quiet can improve the quality of our sleep as can sleeping on a comfortable, supportive bed.