Staying up late to scroll through social media and catch up with friends on phones may be second nature for many teens. But the habit comes at a cost: Forty-three percent of parents say their teens struggle to fall asleep — or wake up and can’t get back to sleep — according to the latest University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.
How can you help your teen sleep better then?
Ban electronics from the bedroom
Not being able to stay off electronics, including social media and cellphones, was the top reason polled parents cited for their teens’ sleep troubles. Some research indicates that the light exposure from screens also disrupts traditional cues sent to the brain to wind down. That’s why we recommend physically removing the device.
Charge phones elsewhere
Make it a family rule to charge all devices in a parent’s bedroom or another isolated space to reduce temptation at bedtime. Many teens actually describe a sense of relief when their parents limit phone use because it takes away some of that pressure to keep up with social news and what their peers are up to.
Maintain a regular sleep schedule
Keeping a sleep schedule within an hour of what’s usual helps keep the circadian rhythm in check. Sleeping in hours later than normal on the weekends and during school breaks makes it even more difficult to switch back, and can lead to more tiredness and grogginess. “Catch-up” sleep is also unlikely to make up for the full amount of sleep debt accrued over a week, and we don’t believe it’s as restorative to the body.
Discourage afternoon naps
Even though they may provide more sleep short term, naps make it harder to fall asleep at night. They also break up sleep, which means lower quality of sleep and fewer benefits. If this is a habit, do everything you can to quit naps for a week to make it easier to not nap going forward.