Here are some tips from the National Sleep Foundation on how to make sure a young person gets enough good quality sleep.
- Set and stick to a sleep schedule. Try to get your teenager to go to bed and wake up at the same times each day.
- Expose them to bright light in the morning and avoid it at night. Exposure to bright morning light energizes us and prepares us for a productive day. Alternatively, dim your lights when it’s close to bedtime.
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Make sure they have enough time to wind down and relax before going to bed without any electronic devices.
- Create a cool, comfortable sleeping environment that is free of distractions. If a computer or TV is creating a distraction then remove them from their bedroom.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages, chocolate and tobacco at night.
- Avoid large meals and beverages right before bedtime. Make sure their evening meal is at least 2 hours before bedtime.
- No nightcaps. If they are old enough to drink alcohol, make sure they don’t drink late in the evening as this can keep them awake.
- Avoid medicines that delay or disrupt their sleep. If they are on any medications check with a doctor or pharmacist to make sure they are not keeping your teenager awake.
- No late-afternoon or evening naps. If they feel tired during the day, try not to let them sleep after 3pm and then only for 45 minutes.
Writer Helen Splarn. Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha.
Source: National Sleep Foundation. 2011 Sleep in America poll: Communications Technology & Sleep.