In a world where kids are expected to be more grown-up than ever, it’s no surprise that many of them struggled to sleep the same way that their parents do. Kids are more stressed than ever these days, with school starting very early in the morning and after-school activities taking up their entire evenings without leaving time for homework and relaxation.
More than two-thirds of American high schoolers don’t get enough sleep. It’s not hard to guess that Canadian rates would be fairly similar. But how does this actually affect their lives?
A Teen Who Is Sleep Deprived Is:
More Likely to Be Overweight
If your child is struggling with their weight, sleep deprivation might be part of the problem. Being sleep deprived can cause people to eat more, higher calorie, carbohydrate and fat foods.
More Likely to Suffer From Mental Health Issues
Sleep deprivation has been linked directly to increased rates of anxiety and depression in teenagers. A study found that 7.5 percent of adolescents met the criteria to be diagnosed with clinical anxiety and depression.
More Likely to Have Emotional Issues
Teenagers already struggle with dealing with their own emotions in an appropriate way. When they are sleep deprived, they are more likely to react negatively to anything that causes them stress in their life.
Now that you know the problems, how can you help your child or teenager to get more, high-quality sleep?
Practice Yoga Together
You can use yoga as a way for the whole family to de-stress, stretch and to spend time together by building it into the family’s bedtime routine. This is a great way to help them to deal with the stress that they are feeling and any emotional issues they are dealing with.
Avoid Late Night Snacks
Whenever possible, it is best to stay away from late-night snacks. When your body is digesting food, you are less likely to get high-quality sleep because your body is focused on digestion.
Put Phones Away After Dinner
This one might be difficult, but it’s important. The blue light that comes from our phone screens can delay production of melatonin for 3 to 4 hours. Since teenagers already struggle with delayed sleep, being on their phones after dinner and right before bed can result in getting very little sleep.
Make Sure Sleep Environment is Comfortable
Is your child sleeping on a mattress that they got when they were moving up from a crib or a hand-me-down of indeterminate age? If they are experiencing back pain or other pain when they wake up, it might be time to replace their mattress or pillows.
Try Reducing Stress
If you notice that your child is struggling with a lot of stress, try finding ways to teach them to reduce that stress.
If you find that your child is not sleeping on a regular basis, you might want to talk to a doctor about it. There might be an underlying medical cause contributing to their issues.