Sleep is a powerful and important bodily function that can have huge benefits for you and your teen.
Why is Sleep So Important?
Sleep is SUPER Important, and yet it’s often one of the first things to sacrifice when you’re busy or ignore when you’re busy.
A lack of sleep has been linked to several physical, mental, and emotional problems.
One of the things that teens that I work with have told me is that they started to feel better when they started sleeping better.
Sleep is literally a bodily function.
You have to sleep.
Could you imagine if you didn’t go to the bathroom for a day or eat or drink for a day?
It would seriously impact how you function from day to day.
Things That Keep You From Sleeping
There are so many things that can keep you and your teen from sleeping, so this won’t be an all-inclusive list, but it’s helpful to know some of these things.
One of the things that I see that keeps both teens and parents from sleeping better is the lack of a pre-sleep routine.
If you’re like many of the parents and teens that I coach, you probably don’t have a clearly defined pre-sleep routine and as a result, you might find yourself taking longer to wind down and finally fall asleep.
Screentime right before bed is also a common culprit when it comes to making it harder to fall asleep. Many of the teens that I work with fall asleep with their phone in hand.
One of the other common issues that keeps some parents and teens from sleeping is having an active mind at bedtime. Just when you want your brain to start winding down, your brain seems to want to go into overdrive.
It’s important to gain some awareness around exactly what is keeping you from sleeping. Once you have an awareness and understanding, you can then be intentional about how you will address the things that are keeping you from sleeping.
Things That Help You Sleep
One of the biggest things that I’ve found that helps me and my teen and parent clients is to develop a bedtime routine that you can follow easily.
I understand that it can be hard to do at times with the hectic schedules that seem to go hand in hand with raising teenagers, but I promise, this is something that can help!
For me, I understand that I have to stop working at least an hour before bedtime, preferably two. It helps me to limit my screen time at least 30 minutes before bedtime, preferably 60-90 minutes.
I’ve also found it to be helpful to do things that help me be tired at night, whether this is walking, playing sports, or simply being more active. Sometimes this is a simple and fun way to ensure that you are ready to zonk-out at night.
Another thing that seems to help is getting up earlier in the morning. I know it’s hard when you’re not sleeping well at night, but it can be a game-changer when it comes to resetting your inner clock.
Ultimately, it’s important to be willing to try new things and see what works for you!
It’s also important to realize that your sleep habits are just that, habits. It might take a little time to build some new habits that support sleep and to break some old habits that inhibit sleep.
5 Simple Tips to Help You and Your Teen Sleep Better
- Develop a bedtime routine that is easy and doable.
- This is super simple, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people complicate this.
- Create a simple bedtime routine that you will actually do.
- For me it looks like:
- Quitting anything that looks like work at least 1 hour before bedtime.
- Putting my phone away about 30 minutes before sleep.
- Taking care of my body by brushing my teeth, flossing, and stretching my legs and back.
- Occasionally, when I’m extra overwhelmed, doing a thought download before bed.
- Getting in bed by 9:45
2. Manage your mind morning and/or night.
- Doing a thought download before bed can be HUGE!
- The brain sometimes goes into overdrive just when you are trying to wind down.
- To prevent this, practice managing your mind.
- It may even be helpful to do a thought download in the morning if you wake up feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
3. Be more active throughout the day.
- Try getting more steps in.
- Go get whooped by your teen in basketball or pickle-ball.
- Try increasing your activity level throughout the day.
4. Have a good morning routine that is easy and doable, even when you’re tired.
- This goes hand in hand with #1.
- Don’t over complicate this. Create a simple morning routine that you will actually do.
- For me it looks like:
- Getting up at 5:45, even when I didn’t sleep well the night before.
- Going to the bathroom and getting a BIG drink of water.
- Stretching my legs and back.
5. Decrease pre-bedtime distractions.
- Know what your pre-bedtime distractions are that impact your sleep.
- Have a friend that always riles you up? Don’t talk to them after 7:00 pm.
- Are you a Facebook warrior? Drop the feuds by 7:00 pm, or better yet, ditch Facebook altogether after 7:00.
- Do pre-bedtime snacks or certain dinners leave you gassy and uncomfortable? Know that and cut it out.
Improving Your Sleep Is An Easy Way to Improve Everything Else
If you’re like most parents that I know, you could stand to improve your sleep.
If you want to have more mental and emotional control, try improving your sleep.
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