The average teen needs 9 hours of sleep! What?!? How is that even possible with how early they need to get up for school? We know that it is imperative for teens to sleep. We know that they are moody, crabby, downright nasty when they are over tired. We know that they would do better in school if they were well rested. And we know on some level that they need sleep to keep their bodies growing, developing and continuing to mature. We know all of this logically, but when do they sleep? The answer is simple. Go to bed earlier. Not necessarily hours earlier, just a half an hour or hour earlier a few night a week.
The number one step to more and better quality sleep for teens is to get all electronics out of their bedroom. That’s right. I said it. No iPod and no phone. Yes, I can hear them now, “But it’s my alarm clock”. I am sure it is. I am also certain it shouldn’t be their alarm clock. Go and get them a good old fashioned alarm clock that plugs into an outlet and beeps obnoxiously at a set time. That’s it. Just a clock. If teens learn to set their device down and walk away from it at night they gain a quiet moment in an otherwise busy day. Your teen, and maybe even you, carry a device up to bed, you brush your teeth aware of texts coming in or Facebook updates, you probably even lie in bed and play a quick game of Candy Crush before setting it aside to fall asleep. Your teen is processing so much information at any given moment of every single day. They have so much access to the world, their friends, information, etc. They need to learn how to be with themselves. How to sooth themselves. They need that valuable down time of getting ready for bed, laying in bed and thinking through the past day or planning for the next day. Give them a quiet brain to do those things. Once they set that device down for the night and walk away, they are valuing sleep and time for themselves more than contact with the world. They are valuing themselves and they are taking care of themselves. It is not an easy sell once they are used to the security of knowing who is doing what every second of the day. But it will be a healthy life skill to give them from an early age. If your teen is not sending last minute texts, checking in on social media one more time, calling a friend to discuss something they saw on social media, playing one last game, etc, they are resting and sleeping maybe even an hour more a night. Just from putting the phone down in the kitchen and heading up to bed without all of those last minute checks, they are getting more sleep.