As parents, we usually ‘force’ our kids to take a nap or to sleep early. Most of us think that having the right amount of sleep will help them grow taller. That is absolutely true and has been backed up by science. However, you should understand that sleeping is beneficial, most especially to your teen’s mental state. We are going to discuss this further so continue reading this post.
How many hours should my teen sleep?
For teens, 14 – 17 years old, the recommended hours of sleep is 8 – 10 hours. Not recommended is less than 7 hours and more than 11 hours. It is highly important that as parents, you police them with their sleeping habits. And here are the reasons why.
Effects of sleep-deprivation to your teens
One of the effects of not having enough sleep is obesity. Lack of sleep is said to interfere with the hormone leptin. This hormone is responsible for sending a signal to stop eating because we are still full. In addition, when your teens do not sleep well, they obviously get tired. And that leads them to choose high-fat and high-carbs diet. But since their body is exhausted, they can’t even burn it. They would rather sit down instead of doing more active physical activities.
Self-harm, even death
Based on a survey, teens who lack sleep are likely to engage in activities where they could harm themselves. These teens are prone to using tobacco, using drugs or substances, drinking alcohol, and engaging in risky sexual acts. These things, if not addressed right away, can lead to death. For some teens, they resort to suicide. The survey had 68,000 teens as respondents and was conducted for around 8 years (2007 -2015).
When should you start monitoring your kids’ sleeping pattern?
Even newborns have recommended hours of sleep. It is from 14 -17 hours a day. And experts suggest to start monitoring your kids’ sleeping behavior as early as possible. Obviously, babies who lack sleep can be irate and cranky. But that’s not the sole reason why you have to correct their sleeping patterns. If you just let it as it is, the pattern won’t change as they grow up.
What can you do to ensure that your teens get enough sleep?
Apart from checking if they are already in bed, here are some of the practical things that you can practice so that everyone will get the right amount of sleep.
Explain to them the benefits of getting enough sleep
Teens can be stubborn (we’ve been there) if they don’t know the reason why you are setting ground rules. It is crucial that you let them understand why you are practicing good sleeping patterns.
Remove all gadgets before bedtime
A lot of teens will say that they use gadgets so they can fall asleep. But that’s not going to work. If you must know, using gadgets can stop the release of melatonin, or a sleep-inducing hormone. Blame the blue light coming from these gadgets.
Prepare light dinner
We understand that you might be tired from work and the best solution for dinner is pizza or fast food. Try not to. You have to practice eating healthy and light foods, most especially before bedtime.
Encourage an active lifestyle
Lastly, don’t allow them to slouch for the entire weekend. Invite them to do fun activities like running around or camping. Just think of activities that will make them move their bodies. It should also help with their sleeping behavior.