5 sleep strategies for your weary-eyed teens

stackes stones by water Growing up, summer days for me typically started with a drill-sergeant announcement of You’re wasting the day away! as my parents scrambled out the door. This was immediately followed by a string of wake-up calls until my eventual rising at no earlier than 10 a.m.

If that sounds like the standard summer morning at your house, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) just released new guidelines that suggest you may want to ease up on your sleepy teens.

For optimal health, the research says teenagers 13 to 18 years old should get 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night on a regular basis.

Extra Zzz’s in the summer can be beneficial, but only if consistent.

According to the AASM findings, irregularity of summer days and vacation schedules will make it harder to readapt once school resumes.

Here are five ways to promote better summertime slumber (and less risk for drowsy driving):

  1. Stick to routine. Go to bed and rise at around the same times each night and morning. This includes keeping the same sleep/wake habits on weekdays, weekends, and during vacations.

  2. Watch what you eat. Large amounts of food (or not enough food) and drinks with caffeine can affect how soundly you sleep.

  3. Limit screen time. Light emitted from TVs, cell phones, computers, and other devices all interfere with your natural sleep cycle. Disconnect from devices about an hour before you plan to snooze – try reading a book instead to relax.

  4. Exercise regularly. Daily exercise not only is good for overall health, it also promotes better quality sleep. Even those who identify as “light” exercisers report 76% very good or fairly good sleep quality compared to only 56% reporting very good or fairly good sleep who identify as “non-exercisers.”

  5. Create a comfy cave. Comfortable bedding, a cool temperature (between 60 and 67 degrees), and dark curtains all set the stage for the best rest.

By making sleep a priority (but not the whole agenda) during the summer, it will be easier to get back into good sleep habits when school starts. What are your tips for a good night’s sleep?

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