Children in their teenage years may begin having problems sleeping. There is no "right" amount of sleep for teens. Each child's needs are different. But some teens have sleep problems that keep them from getting the sleep they need. Some sleep problems go away on their own. Others need medical care.
Some teens don't go to bed until late at night and don't fall asleep until early morning. These teens are often sleepy in the morning. On the weekends, they may sleep until afternoon. This problem is called delayed sleep-phase syndrome. Drinking more coffee, cola, and other caffeine-filled drinks to stay awake will make this problem worse, not better.
A teen who starts to have trouble sleeping may worry about it. This may make the teen more sleepless. Stress can keep the child from getting enough sleep each night.
Sometimes the reason for a lack of sleep can't be found. Your teen's doctor will work with you to find out what is causing the sleep problem. Sometimes tests or sleep studies are done.
For most children, exercise, a healthy diet, and a good bedtime routine will solve the problem. If you try these changes and your teen still has sleep problems, your doctor may prescribe medicine or suggest other treatment.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
How can you care for your child at home?
- Set a bedtime routine with your teenager to help them get ready for bed and sleep. Remind your teenager go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
- If your teen is going to bed at a very late hour, encourage them to change the bedtime a little at a time. Your teen can try to go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night until the best bedtime is reached.
- Help your teen to keep their bedroom quiet, dark, and cool at bedtime. It's best to remove the TV from your teen's room. And remind your teen to turn off the computer, cell phone, and other screens.
- Encourage your teen to be active each day. Your child may like to take a walk with you, ride a bike, or play sports.
- Remind your teen to avoid energizing activities right before bedtime. This can include screen time, such as playing video games, and doing sports.
- Encourage your teen to manage their homework load. This can prevent the need to study all night before a test or stay up late to do homework.
- Offer your teen a bright light for their room. A bright light can help your teen wake up in the morning.
- Help your teen limit eating and drinking near bedtime. Make sure your child does not have caffeine (found in colas, coffee, tea, energy drinks, and chocolate) after 3 p.m.
- If your teen is worried about being overweight, help them talk to their doctor. Being overweight can be associated with sleep problems.
Where can you learn more?
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