It’s not easy for parents to regulate the sleep habits of their teens; here’s a few tips:
According to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, only 8 percent of American teens are getting at least the required sleep to be cognitively and physically healthy (which is 9 hours a night); the rest have mild to moderate chronic sleep deprivation. “More than half (59 percent) have severe sleep deprivation, meaning they sleep on average six hours or less most school nights.”
Parents can help
For some parents it may seem futile to try and regulate your teen’s bedtimes, experts argue that parents actually do have some influence. Of course, it’s especially beneficial if parents have raised their children from very young to practice good sleep habits.
Cut back on the snacking
It can be difficult to control adolescents who are prone to eating and drinking on an erratic schedule. They may be use to drinking caffeinated soda or sugary treats to stay awake to study. Many parents find that if they simply do not stock the pantry or fridge with tempting processed and sugary foods, there is less snacking.
Alter the environment
You can alter the environment also by gradually dimming the lights around the house during the evening hours, which signals the brain to start moving toward sleep. As much as possible, try and discourage your teen from hanging out on social media like Facebook or YouTube; not only is there cause for excitability, but they are sources of anxiety and social stresses.
Experts all agree that it’s essential to turn off all electronic devices an hour (at minimum) before bedtime. Screens all emit “blue light” which sends a signal to the brain to suppress the production of melatonin and will inhibit tiredness. This is not an easy task for parents. One suggestion is the free app: F.lux, which can automatically adjust the lighting on computer screens and remove the blue light.
Encourage sleep consistency
It’s important for anyone with bipolar to have consistent sleep habits; this means going to bed as close to the same time seven nights a week. It’s even more important for teens because they require more sleep; so if their schedule shifts, especially on weekends, then it throws off their balance.
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