Let's talk about Teens and Sleep | Mum In The Madhouse

Let’s talk about Teens and Sleep

Let’s talk about Teens and Sleep is a collaborative post with Simba Sleep. My boys are now 19 and 17 and we have had some different experiences with them both and sleep. As a parent sleep is something that is pretty much constantly on your mind. It starts as soon as they are born and people ask if they are sleeping through. I remember when they were smaller than people always said that the early mornings and sleep issues would be a thing of the past and they would sleep and sleep and sleep.

We used to joke about sleep all the time, mainly because we had one child who did sleep and one who was a very reluctant sleeper. I also think part of my obsession with sleep was my lack of it as I have always been an insomniac and that only got worse when I became a parent.

During lockdown, Mini went from not sleeping to sleeping for over 16 hours a day. We were so concerned that we saw the GP and he had blood tests. It turns out that he was just unengaged with online learning and his sleep patterns got out of whack. So I want to share with you just how much sleep teenagers need and how to help them get that sleep.

Research shows that many teens do not get enough sleep, he is how much they need and how you can help them get more shut eye

How much sleep does a Teenager Need?

Experts recommend that children between 13 and 19 years of age need to get 8 to 10 hours of sleep and have a consistent sleep schedule.

As adults, we know that sleep is important for many reasons, but for teenagers, it is especially important as they are still growing and developing. Sleep is so important for their mental health, that sleep deprivation can cause mood changes, anxiety and depression. and sleep-deprived teens are more likely to be involved in car crashes and other accidents because sleepiness affects reaction times.

Teens need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night but the majority of them are not getting enough.  Here is how to help.

Ways to help your Teenager get the sleep they need

The fact is that teenagers develop a delayed sleep cycle, but what does that mean, well basically they become night owls as they don’t get sleepy until later perhaps at around 11 pm or midnight and if left to their own devices would sleep later in the morning, but what with early school start times (heck, my boys had to be on the school bus at 7.05 am) they struggle to get enough sleep through no fault of their own. So what can you do to help?

Involve your teenager

I know this sounds like passing the buck, but it isn’t. You are empowering them to take control. Discuss if you can help ease their schedule or change things to make it easier on them. Help them set a sleep schedule so they know when they need to get to sleep in order to get the optimum amount of sleep.

We found that grass roots football games starting later in the day for teenagers not only meant they got more sleep but they played better too. Also, regular exercise helped my teenagers sleep.

Think about their bed and environment

My teenagers are like hulking gangly men physically now and their beds, well let’s just say that changing Maxi’s (who is 19) bed to a small double has made a massive difference in the quality and length of his sleep. He also upgraded to a Simba Hybrid Mattress which he loves. We also bought him a new Simba pillow and I am ashamed to say that I think he has had his current one since he went from a cot to a bed.

It is really easy to forget just how long they have had their previous mattress and how they can impact the quality of their sleep. He wants to go to bed!

The Simba Hybrid Mattress is so confortable. I don’t wake up aching when I have slept on it even after playing lots of sport or a long day of work. I fall asleep so fast on it and wake up feeling refreshed. When I leave home I am taking it with me!

Maxi – 19

As a parent, I have learned that the sooner they fall asleep the better as if they lay awake then they are tempted to get their phone out. So a comfortable bed, pillows and bedding is key.

Maxi also has eczema and we have found that bamboo bedding works really works for him as does linen and when it comes to a mattress he needs a hybrid or sprung mattress as a pure memory foam as the hotter he gets at night the more he itches.

And whilst we are talking about their environment and bedroom keeping it cool, quiet and dark is so important to sleep hygiene, especially as loads of young adults and teenagers will have LED lights and screens in their rooms.

Encourage them to have good Sleep Habits

As much as you might want to confiscate their phone and screens or even turn off the wifi to get them to sleep, we have to give our adolescents the power to regulate themselves and encourage them to have good sleep hygiene and a regular bedtime routine.

Encourage them to turn off screens 30 minutes before bed and to put their devices on silent or do not disturb mode during the night so as not to distract them from sleep. No caffeine for 2 hours before bed and also let them know that alcohol inhibits sleep and although they might fall asleep faster they will sleep less.

Seek Outside Help

If excessive daytime sleepiness and lack of sleep is becoming an issue then do seek help from your doctor.

Teens need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night but the majority of them are not getting enough.  Here is how to help.

Remember that this is just a stage

Understanding that this is part of the teenage brain’s development and this too shall pass is helpful when you are struggling to get them up in the morning or are woken by them screaming on the Xbox at their friends at 2 am. Although you can get your own back by going in and vacuuming their room at 7 am on Sunday!