*This is a collaborative post sharing some ideas on helping teenagers embrace sleep hygiene*
Getting teenagers to go to sleep is often difficult and they may need help to manage their sleep hygiene. Not only do they start having different sleeping patterns, but they start becoming more rebellious and independent-minded, so getting them to do anything is a challenge. Not to mention that they get better at tricking you, so you’re never completely guaranteed that they’ll be actually sleeping when they say they are. However, if you can show them the benefits of good sleep hygiene and create the perfect environment for them, you can expect them to improve their habits. Here are a few ways to help teenagers embrace sleep hygiene.
Show them the Benefits of Good Sleep Hygiene
You first have to show them the actual benefits of getting the correct amount of sleep, having a sound sleep schedule, and sticking to it. You should tell them about the mental and physical benefits of good sleep. Show them how sleep can make you look and feel better. If they’re into sports, let them know that sleep will help them perform better and give them a few examples of successful athletes (preferably in their sport) who have a strict sleeping schedule and discipline.
Create the Perfect Sleep Environment for Them
You also have to make sure that their bedroom is as conducive to sleep as possible. This means that you need to start by looking for the best mattresses available for them. You will need to look at things such as their weight, possible health issues they may have, their favorite sleeping position, etc. Then, you’ll be able to find a mattress that fits their needs and will help them get optimal sleep.
Next, make sure that there aren’t too many screens in the room. You can’t expect them to throw their tablet, laptop, or cell away, although we do, personally as a family have quite a strict policy about screens in bedrooms, but don’t add a TV. Also, make sure that you instill good principles in them like turning off screens a few hours before going to sleep to not trip their internal clock and enhance sleep quality.
Preach by Example
You’ll have a tough time convincing a 15-year-old to go to sleep while you’re still on the couch watching your favorite show. You have to preach by example and get to sleep roughly around the same time as everyone else. You will show that you respect them by doing so and won’t risk waking them up either.
Give them Time
Another thing you have to do is make sure to let them adopt their new routine at their own pace. It can take a lot of time for someone to get used to a new sleeping routine, especially a teenager. Getting them to log off from their tablets hours before going to sleep might be tough at first, but make sure that they’re committed. Once they get into it and realize how good they’re feeling, it will become second nature to them.
Get them to Embrace Exercise
Physical activity is one of the best ways to enhance sleep. It is recommended that teenagers spend at least 60 minutes per day on physical exercise. While this might seem like a lot, know that this time can be split and doesn’t have to be spent on one activity only.
One thing you should do is consider getting them enrolled in some sport. You don’t need to force it on them. Pay attention to what they like. Ask them if they have a professional or Olympic sport they like and see what would need to be done for them to get into it.
These are all things that you can do starting today to help your teenager embrace the virtues of good sleep hygiene. Whatever you do, make sure to stay patient and respect their pace.