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Alaska Sleep Education Center

Night Owl Teens. Does your Teen Struggle with Sleep?

Posted by Jennifer Christensen on Aug 10, 2013 11:52:00 AM

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It’s well known that some kind of switch seems to get thrown when our precious little ones become teens. Their sleeping patterns or lack there of become things of legend. The vampiric like late hours and the spaced out zombie behavior first thing in the morning is enough to drive any parent up the walls.

But did you know that when kids hit their teens, their biological sleep patterns shift later? This means that it is entirely natural for teens to not be able to even fall asleep before 11pm! For all of us in Anchorage, the days are still long, but school is starting soon so the mornings of sleeping in are dwindling.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 9.5 hours of sleep is optimal for teens with 8.5 being the minimum recommendation. However one study found that only about 15% of teens report getting 8.5 hours of sleep on school nights.

So what can teens do to get better sleep? Here are some suggestions:

  • It’s all in the timing! Come up with and stick to a schedule. Consistently going to sleep and waking up at the same time will allow your body to get in sync with its natural patterns. This makes falling asleep easier.
  • Unplug! We know it’s a chore in our digital age, but avoiding the TV, computer, iPad, iPhone, tablet, or other digital device for an hour before bed will give your mind and eyes a chance to relax, possibly making it easier to fall asleep.
  • Get in a routine! Do the same things every night before bed. This teaches your body the signals that it’s time to prepare for sleep.

So regardless of where you might be in Alaska from Soldotna, to Anchorage, to Wasilla or Fairbanks, it’s not too soon to start helping you teens prepare for the transition from summer to school sleep schedules. 

Topics: insomnia, teens

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