Teen sleep cycles may not match family and school schedules. Help them synchronize.
|Scooped by Megan Rose|
A = Amount of sleep needed
C = Causes of tiredness
S = Suggestions for improving sleep
A-Most teens need about 9 hours of sleep each night, and sometimes more, to maintain optical daytime alertness.
S-Adjust the lighting in your teens room. Dim the lights as bedtime approaches, then turn off the lights during sleep. In the morning expose your teen to bright light. These simple cues help signal when it's time to sleep and time to wake up.
S-Stick to a schedule. Encourage your teen to go to bed and get up at the same time everyday, even on the weekends. Cut down on extra-curricular activities and curb late night social time as needed. Some teens have a job, if so limit working hours to no more than 16 to 20 hours a week.
S-Nix long naps. If your teen is drowsy during the day, a 30 minutes nap afterschool might be refreshing. Be cautious though, too much daytime sleep might only make it harder to fall asleep at night.
S-Cut of caffiene. Caffiene may help your teen stay awake during class, but the effects are fleeting, and too much caffiene can interfere with a good night's sleep.
S-Keep it calm. Encourage your teen to wind down at night with a warm shower, a book or other relaxing activities. Discourage stimulating activities, including vigorous exercise, loud music, video games, television, computer use and text messaging, an hour or two before bedtime.
S-Know when to unplug. Take the TV out of your teens room, or keep it off at night. The same goes for your teens cellphone, computer or other electronic gagdets.
S-Sleeping pills and other medications generally aren't recomended. For many teens, lifestyle changes can effectively improve sleep.
C-In some cases, excessive daytime sleepiness can be a sign of something more than a problem with your teens internal clock.
C-Medication side effects. Many medications, including over-the-counter cold and allergy medications and prescription medications to treat depression and attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, can disrupt sleep.
C-Insomnia or biological clock disturbance. If your teen is having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, he or she is likely to struggle with daytime sleepiness.
C-Depression. Sleeping too much or too little is a common sign of depression.
C-Obstructive sleep apnea. When throat muscles fall slack during sleep, they stop air from moving freely through the nose and windpipe. This can interfere with breathing and disrupt sleep. You might notice loud snoring or intermittent pauses in breathing, often followed by snorting and more snoring.
C-Restless legs syndrome. This condition causes a creepy senstion in the legs and an irrestistable urge to move the legs, usually shortly after going to bed. The discomfort and movement can interupt sleep.
C-Narcolepsy. Sudden daytime sleep, usually for only short periods of time, can be a sign of narcolepsy. Narcoleptic episodes can occur at any time, even in the middle of a conversation. Sudden attacks of muscle weakness in response to emotions such as laughter, anger or surprise are possible, too.
S-You can contact your teens doctor if you're concerned about their daytime sleepiness. If your teen is depressed or has a sleep disorder, proper treatment can be the key to a good night's sleep.