Sleep is a key part of your mental and physical health, but many teens aren’t getting enough of it.
Sleep is important for your overall health, but busy schedules, stress and health problems can all get in the way of a good night’s rest.
Life can sometimes hinder sleep, whether it’s school, sports or friends. But it’s important that you take care of yourself. When things get busy, it’s OK for your sleep to fluctuate, as long as you’re not constantly depriving yourself of a good night’s rest.
What are the benefits of sleep?
Getting the right amount of sleep is important for staying healthy. It gives your body time to process toxins and release important hormones to keep you balanced. With sleep, your body also:
- heals more quickly from injury and illness
- develops and grows at a faster rate
- regulates your appetite and metabolism
- repairs and enhances memory
- stabilizes mood and decreases anxiety
I can’t sleep!
Some teens have a hard time falling asleep while others wake up in the middle of the night. Here are some things that can impact sleep:
- a busy schedule
- conflict with friends or family
- watching TV or playing video games too close to bedtime
- certain medications
- mental health disorders
- drug or alcohol use
- drinking caffeinated beverages too close to bedtime
Everyone has trouble sleeping from time to time, but if you find that sleep problems are affecting your life, you may want to see your doctor. Sleep problems are treatable.
How can I get a better sleep?
It’s natural to sometimes have a hard time getting enough sleep. There are things you can do to help yourself have a better rest, like:
- Stick to a schedule: go to bed and get up at around the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Work out: exercise helps, but try to finish your workout a few hours before bedtime so your body has enough time to wind down.
- Avoid caffeine: pop, coffee, tea and energy drinks in the afternoon can affect sleep.
- Relax: take a warm bath or listen to calming music to help you relax before bed. You could also try meditating, yoga or stretching to help turn off your mind and minimize stress.
- Resist the urge to nap: napping during the day can make it harder to fall asleep at night.
- Get up: if you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes or so, get up and do something that will help you relax. Go back to bed when you feel sleepy again.
- Write in a sleep diary: many teens keep sleep diaries. These can help you track what’s on your mind. If your mind is racing, try writing down the things that you’re worried about.
- Switch off: watching TV, playing video games, using your tablet or texting before bed can contribute to sleep problems. While it may seem like you’re relaxing, these activities actually stimulate your mind, making it harder to get to sleep.
- Avoid liquids: refrain from drinking too much before bed so you won’t have to get up to go to the bathroom.
What is a positive sleep environment?
A good sleep environment is quiet, comfortable, the right temperature, dark and safe. It creates a feeling of relaxation and calm. Having pictures of your loved ones on your nightstand can also help, as this keeps the things special to you in mind.