By Dr.Manvir Bhatia ! Ananya !17th July 2023
Our system is working continuously to supply nutrients and energy to all parts of the body. To consistently function well, the body needs rest and time to regenerate itself. It does this by sleeping. Thus, sleep is an indispensable part of our life. However, we often prioritize other things over sleep. This habit generally starts during our high school days when we just reach our teenage years. Life is very busy for teenagers. They are always struggling with school, friends, and other extracurricular activities. However, they need at least 9 hours of sleep from the age of 12 to 22 to function efficiently.
With puberty, there is a natural shift in the circadian rhythm. So, their natural sleep and wake-up time shift by a couple of hours. Also, their sleep drive slows down and they are able to stay awake for a longer period of time. However, irrespective of these biological shifts, we cannot consider insufficient sleep to be a very normal part of teenage. It can lead to sleep deprivation that has adverse effects like moodiness, depression, aggressiveness, concentration difficulties, etc. Here are a few ways to help teens get good sleep:
Reduce screen time:
Blue light suppresses the secretion of melatonin. Therefore, if there is some reason why teenagers are using their computers till late in the evening, it is best to use blue light filter glasses. It is best to switch off screens at least an hour before bedtime.
Regulate eating habits:
Teenagers have very erratic eating habits. This affects their sleep adversely especially if they are having all the snacks that are high in oil and sugar. This greatly affects their overall sleep schedule leaving them sleep deprived.
Exercise is very important for a teen. It not only keeps them active but also helps them sleep well. Thus, they should move throughout the day and perform some physical activity to improve their sleep quality. Practicing some form of sports also gives them a chance to spend time outdoors.
Amidst their busy schedules, it is very important for teenagers to find time for themselves. They should engage in relaxing activities such as meditation, stretching, reading a book, a warm bath, etc. These kinds of activities support a healthy sleep cycle.
Maintain a good sleep environment:
Parents should always be very conscious about the sleep environment of their teenage kids. For this, the temperature of the bedroom should be cool enough to avoid sweat and itching. Put up heavy curtains to block out excessive light from the room. The room should also be free from noise. All these steps will help them to relax and fall asleep easily.
A sleep routine:
It is also very important for parents to set a sleep routine for their teenagers that will help them fall asleep. This may include a warm water bath and hot milk before bed. Maintaining dim light, listening to soft music, and reading a book in bed are habits that can immensely help with sleep.
If it gets very difficult for a teenager to fall asleep, one should consider using melatonin supplements. This will help them to fall asleep on time. In addition, consulting a counselor and addressing issues of stress, anxiety, and any kind of emotional turbulence.
Along with this, we also need to take into consideration that teenage is a phase in life when one experiences every emotion at the most extreme level. Be it joy, anxiety, passion, etc, it is always at its peak. They indulge themselves in various things and are very enthusiastic to see it to the end. Thus, it is very important for their families to take care of the sleep of their kids. For this, they first need to educate their children about the importance of sleep. If this first gets into their head, only then will they keep it in mind when they plan their day.