Pediatric Sleep Center Offers Tips for Better Sleeping for Teens

The natural sleep/wake cycle, called the circadian rhythm, changes dramatically in adolescents, making it difficult for adolescents to have a quality sleep experience. In fact, 45 percent of teenagers do not get enough sleep, which affects reaction time, decision-making and memory.

Experts at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Pediatric Sleep Center have exceptional experience in adolescent sleep disorders, paying particular attention to the social, emotional and developmental needs of teens.

Inadequate sleep can affect every aspect of a teen’s life from decreased performance at school to constant irritability and depression. If a teen is having trouble sleeping, try these tips:

  • Encourage teens to wake up and go to bed at approximately the same time every day of the week to create a consistent sleep rhythm. Avoid weekend sleep-ins. These make it harder to fall asleep on weekend nights, leaving the teenager short on sleep for Monday morning classes.
  • Discourage vigorous physical activity in the two hours before bedtime. Try to make the hour before bedtime a quiet, wind-down period.
  • Teach teens to avoid stimulating television, music, video games or phone conversations before settling down to sleep.
  • Have teens avoid caffeine for at least several hours before bed, including caffeinated sodas, coffee and tea. Even non-cola drinks can contain caffeine, so it is best to check labels.
  • Make the bed a sleep-only zone. Teens should do homework at a desk or table. They should play games, watch television and use the computer outside of the bedroom.
  • Insist that teens turn their cell phones off before bed. If teens send or receive texts throughout the night, they are not getting the quality sleep they need.
  • Avoid letting teens have prolonged or late day naps. If a nap is needed, limit daytime sleep to 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Monitor teens’ activities and commitments, and help them make choices that allow them enough time to get the proper rest.