- Make sleep a priority, lack of sleep can make your teen look tired and feel depressed, irritable and angry
- Keep consistency in mind – establish a regular bedtime and wake time and maintain it during weekends and school holidays if possible; avoid napping late in the day as it might interfere with night time sleep
- Most adolescents need between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of sleep – your teen should first determine what time he or she needs to get up in the morning, then calculate the right time to go to bed to achieve at least 8.5 hours of sleep
- Bright lights in the morning help signal to the brain it’s time to get up, conversely, avoid bright light in the evening
- Be mindful of stimulants, after lunch it is best to stay away from caffeinated drinks – coffee, cola and energy drinks
- Relax before going to bed – in the hour before bed, teens should engage in relaxing activities such as reading or taking a warm shower
- Say no to all-nighters – staying up late can cause chaos to sleep patterns and the ability to be alert the next day and beyond, all-nighters or late-night study sessions before an exam might seem like a good way to cram, but they are also likely to drain brainpower.
- Do you have to wake your teen for school? And, is it difficult to do so?
- Has a teacher mentioned your teen is sleepy or tired during the day?
- Do you find your teen falling asleep doing homework?
- Is your teen sleeping two hours later or more on weekends?
- Does he / she rely on a caffeinated drink in the morning to wake up? And / or drink two or more caffeinated drinks a day?
- Does he / she routinely nap for more than 45 minutes?
Parents can play a big role in helping adolescents develop and maintain healthy sleep habits. It is important to talk about sleep – including the natural sleep phase delay that can keep them awake late in to the evening – and learn more about good sleep habits in order to manage teens’ busy schedules.