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How To Help A Teenager With Sleep Problems

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Support For Issues With Sleep In Teenagers And Children

Sleep Tips for Teens Mayo Clinic

If you suspect that your child or teenager has a sleep problem that goes beyond a few nightmares or restless nights, it is important to seek professional help. The earlier a sleep problem is identified and treated, the more quickly a normal sleep routine can be restoredfor everyone.

At Clinical Partners we are able to help children and teenagers with sleep problems.

Call us on 0203 326 9160 to arrange a consultation with one of our team.

Why Meds Arent The Gold Standard For Helping Kids With Adhd

Even in teens without ADHD, lack of sleep can have a negative impact on attention, mood and functioning in daily life. So is it possible that some teens diagnosed with ADHD might actually just have poor sleep habits or a sleep disorder instead? I think its possible, but its probably not the majority of cases, Becker says.

What It Means for Parents and Teens

Becker believes its more common for sleep problems and ADHD to exist side by side, with each condition making the other harder to manage. Because sleep problems can magnify ADHD-related impairments, and vice versa, its important to address both in treatment. Any time are doing an ADHD assessment, they should include sleep as part of the assessment process, says Becker.

In the future, Becker hopes his research will help develop ADHD interventions that better target sleep issues. Hes currently collaborating on a study with Joshua Langberg, Ph.D., of Virginia Commonwealth University, which will be one of the largest studies to look at teens with and without ADHD across the transition from middle school to high school. He expects the study to shed light on how sleep problems and ADHD interact throughout this critically important turning point in a teens life.

Linda Wasmer Andrews is a health and psychology writer. She is currently coauthoring a book about parenting adolescents with ADHD.

Coping With Insomnia In Children

While establishing good lifestyle habits can help ensure a restful night for a child of any age, its especially important for older children and teens.

Make sure your child uses their bed only for sleep. If possible, encourage them to use their bed only for sleep and a pre-bedtime ritual rather than homework, for example. Otherwise, theyll associate the bed with other activities rather than rest and relaxation. Similarly, dont use your childs bedroom for time-out or theyll learn to associate it with punishment.

Ensure their bedroom is comfortable. Most kids sleep best in a slightly cool room . If theres noise from outside, using white noise from a fan or sound machine can help to mask it. Make sure your childs bed is not overloaded with toys, as that can become distracting at bedtime.

Try to keep the same sleep schedule, even on weekends. This will make it easier for your child to wake up and fall asleep naturally. Adolescents should not need to sleep much more than an hour past their usual wakeup time on the weekends. If they do, this indicates that they arent getting enough sleep during the week.

Keep your child from going to bed too hungry or full. A light snack before bed is a good idea. However, heavy meals within an hour or two of bedtime may keep kids awake.

Encourage natural light exposure first thing in the morning. Opening the blinds helps your child wake up and signifies the start of the day.

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Sleeping Difficulty For Adolescents

When you dont get enough sleep at night you can find yourself feeling sleepy during the day time. This can have an impact on your school/college work and friendships due to lack of concentration and bad moods.

It is quite common for adolescents to have problems with sleeplessness. Some young people find it difficult to sleep if they are worried, drinking too much tea, coffee, cola or energy drinks or if they are using illegal drugs. At times, during the teenage years, young people get into the habit of going to sleep very late and find that after a while theyre unable to get to sleep earlier. Sometimes difficulty sleeping is part of depression.

When you dont get enough sleep at night you can find yourself feeling sleepy during the day time. This can have an impact on your school/college work and friendships due to lack of concentration and bad moods.

Not getting enough sleep regularly has even been linked to heart disease, diabetes and obesity in later life.

Poor sleep can also affect your mental health as it can become difficult to cope with everyday life.

Go To Bed How To Get Teens To Get Enough Sleep

Teenagers and Sleep: How Much is Enough and How You Can ...

Between school, peer pressure, sports, friends, and hormones, teens have a lot on their plates. On top of all that, research shows that many of them are constantly sleep deprived, which is bad news for their physical and mental health.

It may seem like your teen is wired to stay up late every night and, in fact, that’s partially true. But you can still encourage a sleep routine that works with their daily schedule and make sure they are following a few simple rules for restful nights. Here’s how to do it and why it really matters.

Why Teens Can’t Sleep

If your teenager wants to stay up late, there may be a biological reason for it. Children’s internal clocks, called circadian rhythms, shift slightly around the time they go through puberty, says Judith Owens, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Boston Children’s Hospital. Their brains don’t start making melatonin, a hormone that helps us fall asleep, until later in the evening.

On top of that, teens have a slower sleep drive than young children, which means they stay awake longer, even when they’re sleep deprived. “It is harder for them to naturally fall asleep much before 11 at night,” Owens says.

They also spend too much time with electronic devices like cell phones and tablets, says Cora Breuner, MD, chair of the Committee on Adolescence for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

But They Still Need Plenty of Sleep

Continued

What You Can Do

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This Wont Last Forever

Its worth reminding your teen that no matter how much pain or turmoil they are experiencing right now, with your love and support, and professional help when its needed, the situation can and will get betterfor both of you. Your teen can overcome the problems of adolescence and mature into a happy, well-balanced young adult.

Ezzz Sleep Tips For Teens

So how can you change your sleep habits? Try these sleep tips:

1. Make your bedroom a quiet place. Turn your computer off before you get in bed. If your home is loud at night, wear earplugs.

2. Take a hot bath or shower before bed to boost deep sleep. Then keep your room cool to cool your body. One study showed that sleep happens when the body cools. Wakefulness occurs when the body temperature warms up.

3. If light bothers you, put blackout shades in your windows. Make sure your door is shut when you go to bed. Turn your clock with the face toward the wall, so you donât check the time all night long. You can also buy a lightweight and comfortable sleep mask at most stores that will cover your eyes and prevent light entry. When you get up on school days, open your shades, and turn on your light. The early light of day helps to âresetâ your brain to push your bedtime to an earlier hour.

4. If you are stressed, relax with soft music or yoga right before bedtime. If you canât relax, ask your doctor for help.

5. Go to bed early when youâre ill. Even an hour earlier each night can help give your body the sleep it needs to get well. Be sure to plan for this added sleep time if you have to get up early for school.

7. Use good night âscents.â Christie and Mitchell say aromatherapy can boost sleep. Try orange blossom, marjoram, chamomile, and lavender scents.

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Limit Screens In The Bedroom

If possible, do not have a mobile, tablet, TV or computer in the bedroom at night, as the light from the screen interferes with sleep.

Having screens in the bedroom also means your teen is more likely to stay up late interacting with friends on social media.

Encourage your teenager to have at least an hour of screen-free time before going to sleep.

Tip : Take Care Of Yourself

Top 3 Sleep Tips for Children & Teens | Insomnia

The stress of dealing with any teenager, especially one whos experiencing behavioral problems, can take a toll on your own health, so its important to take care of yourself. That means looking after your emotional and physical needs and learning to manage stress.

Take time to relax daily and learn how to regulate yourself and de-stress when you start to feel overwhelmed. Learning how to use your senses to quickly relieve stress and regularly practicing relaxation techniques are great places to start.

Talk it over. Its normal to feel overwhelmed, helpless, angry, or frustrated when dealing with a troubled teenager. Talking about how youre feeling can help defuse the intensity, so share your feelings with a trusted friend or find a therapist.

Dont go it alone, especially if youre a single parent. Find support from family, friends, a school counselor, sports coach, religious leader, or someone else who has a relationship with your teen. Organizations such as Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA, and other youth groups can also help provide structure and guidance.

Remember your other children. Dealing with a troubled teen can unsettle the whole family. It can be especially hard on other children, so make sure theyre not ignored. Siblings may need special individual attention or professional help of their own to handle their feelings about the situation.

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Asking High School Students About Their Sleeping Habits And Mental Health

Three-hundred and eighteen teenagers aged 12 to 18 were recruited from eight South Australian high schools in both metropolitan and rural areas. Insomnia was assessed by the Insomnia Severity Index , an 8-item scale that is based on the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria of primary insomnia. Anxiety subtypes and depression were assessed via the Revised Children’s Anxiety and Depression Scale , a 48-item scale that is based on the DSM-IV diagnoses of major depressive disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder , panic disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder , separation anxiety disorder, and social phobia. Being a night owl or early riser was assessed via the Morningness-Eveningness Scale , a 10-item scale that assesses whether children and teenagers are most active and hence prefer to sleep and wake earlier or later during the 24-hour day-night cycle. Demographic information, along with past diagnoses and treatment were also assessed.

Exercise For Better Sleep

Regular exercise helps you sleep more soundly, as well as improving your general health.

Teenagers should be aiming for at least 60 minutes’ exercise every day, including aerobic activities such as fast walking and running.

Exercising out in daylight will help to encourage healthy sleep patterns, too.

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Other Issues With Sleep

It’s also important to explore other reasons, apart from tiredness, why your teenager might not want to get out of bed and go to school, says Gregory Stores, Professor of Developmental Neuropsychiatry at the University of Oxford. Are they depressed or affected by chronic fatigue syndrome or substance abuse?

Excessive daytime sleepiness can also be caused by breathing difficulties, often caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids, or neurological disorders such as narcolepsy.

While it’s relatively normal for teenagers to need extra sleep, you can always make an appointment with your GP if youre concerned about other underlying causes.

So How Can We Help Our Teens Get The Sleep They Need

How to Help Your Teen Get More Sleep and Become a Happier ...

With all the things that they need to get accomplished in a day, teens are always going to have trouble getting the requisite amount of sleep. But as the adults in their lives, we can help them by teaching them about and modeling good sleep hygiene for them. Its critically important.

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What Can I Do To Get Them Back On Track

Below are some tips to help your adolescent manage their sleep patterns better.

  • Experts recommend at least two hours without screens before bedtime in order to help our brains unwind. There is also some evidence to suggest that the light from screens can affect our sleep patterns . Although turning off TVs and computer for TWO hours before bed can be a little unrealistic, see if your teenager can manage 30 60 minutes without them and can take it on as a bit of a challenge.
  • Encourage your teenager to keep regular sleep/wake times, even on the weekends and on school holidays . This doesnt necessarily mean getting up at 6.30am on a Sunday, but an 8am wake time would be better than sleeping in until midday.
  • Having sunlight in the eyes first thing in the morning will also help with melatonin levels and should help teenagers get out of bed more easily. It is recommended by experts that we sit outside for 15 30 minutes in the morning straight after waking. Your teenager could try sitting outside to have breakfast in summer and even sitting near a window or opening the blinds in their room can be an alternative in wintertime. Sitting outside, even on a cloudy day, is much better than turning on an artificial light when it comes to the levels of blue light, which helps our bodies know what time it is.
  • Australiasian Sleep Association: http://www.sleep.org.au/

    Melbourne Sleep Disorders Centre: http://msdc.com.au/MSDC/Home.html

    How Can Teens Get Better Sleep

    Teens who are having sleep problems should start by talking with their doctor about how much sleep they are getting and how it impacts their daily life. Their pediatrician can work to identify any underlying causes and craft the most appropriate and tailored treatment.

    Depending on the cause of sleep problems, medications may be considered however, in most cases, treatment with medications isnt necessary for teens to get better sleep.

    A beneficial step is for teens to review and improve their sleep hygiene, which includes their sleep environment and habits. Some healthy sleep tips that can help in this process include:

    • Budgeting eight hours of sleep into your daily schedule and keeping that same schedule on both weekdays and weekends.

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    Tip : Deal With Teen Anger And Violence

    If youre a parent of a teenage boy who is angry, aggressive, or violent, you may live in constant fear. Every phone call or knock on the door could bring news that your son has either been harmed, or has seriously harmed others.

    Teenage girls get angry as well, of course, but that anger is usually expressed verbally rather than physically. Teen boys are more likely to throw objects, kick doors, or punch the walls when theyre angry. Some will even direct their rage towards you. For any parent, especially single mothers, this can be a profoundly disturbing and upsetting experience. But you dont have to live under the threat of violence. Putting up with violence is as harmful for your teen as it is for you.

    If you feel threatened by your teen

    Everyone has a right to feel physically safe. If your teen is violent towards you, seek help immediately. Call a friend, relative, or the police if necessary. It doesnt mean that you dont love your child, but the safety of you and your family should always come first.

    Why Do Teens Have Trouble Sleeping

    Tips to help weary teens get a good nights sleep

    Research shows that teens need at least 8½ hours of sleep a night. You don’t need to be a math whiz to figure out that if you wake up for school at 6:00 a.m., you’d have to go to bed at 9:00 p.m. to reach the 9-hour mark. Studies have found that many teens have trouble falling asleep that early, though. It’s not because they don’t want to sleep. It’s because their brains naturally work on later schedules and aren’t ready for bed.

    During adolescence, the body’s rhythm is reset, telling a teen to fall asleep later at night and wake up later in the morning. This change in the circadian rhythm seems to happen because a teen’s brain makes the hormone later at night than the brains of kids and adults do.

    So, teens have a harder time falling asleep. Sometimes this delay in the sleepwake cycle is so severe that it affects a person’s daily activities. In those cases it’s called delayed sleep phase syndrome or “night owl” syndrome.

    This isn’t the only reason teens lose sleep, though. Lots of people have insomnia trouble falling or staying asleep. The most common cause of insomnia is stress. But all sorts of things can lead to insomnia, including physical discomfort , emotional troubles , and even an uncomfortable sleeping environment . Exposing your eyes to excessive light at night through mobile devices, for instance also makes it harder to sleep.

    P

    Common sleep problems include:

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    Seeking Professional Help For A Troubled Teen

    If you identify red flag behaviors in your teen, consult a doctor, counselor, therapist, or other mental health professional for help finding appropriate treatment.

    Even when you seek professional help, though, that doesnt mean that your job is doneits just begun. As detailed below, there are many actions you can take at home to help your teen and improve the relationship between you. And you dont need to wait for a diagnosis to start putting them into practice.

    Keep in mind that whatever problems your teen is experiencing, it is not a sign that youve somehow failed as a parent. Instead of trying to assign blame for the situation, focus on your teens current needs. The first step is to find a way to connect with what they are experiencing emotionally and socially.

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