A good night’s rest is essential for everybody. Nowadays, students are facing severe sleep deprivation. Teens cannot cope with classes, homework, projects, exams, and extracurricular activities from all sides. This pandemic has made everything even worse. Developing adolescents require at least eight to ten hours of sleep per night. It is recorded that teens hardly receive 8 hours of sleep.
Before considering the tricks for better sleep, one should detect the reason for sleep deprivation in teens. Most parents curse their child’s electronic devices as the root of the problem. The reasons may vary from one teen to another. 60% of teens are sleep deprived due to school pressure, 30% are charmed by social media, and 10% of teens have different reasons like sleep disorders. The pandemic was heavily blamed for changes in sleep patterns. Parents should openly talk to their children about the issues bugging them and not letting them sleep.
The impact of sleep deprivation is noticed in health deterioration and the decline in academic performance. Teen students who don’t get adequate sleep hamper their mental wellness as well, which can lead to recklessness, unruly behaviour, low-esteem, anxiety, and depression.
10 tricks to restrict sleep deprivation in teens
- Restrict usage of electronics: It is next to impossible in the 21st century to live without smartphones, laptops, technology and social media. Interacting with friends on different social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram falls into their daily routine. The screen light disrupts the sleep schedule. Teens should have a device-free hour before going to sleep. In extreme conditions, if required, parents should confiscate their devices for the night.
- Make a schedule: Teens usually stay up late at night to chat or talk to friends over the phone, gaming, or binge-watching movies and web series. A regular sleep routine should be set and they should try to stick to it. Simultaneously, create a study routine and make sure they do not clash with each other. For teen students, it is ideal to go to bed at 10:30 pm. Do not try to break the schedule because once broken, it will be challenging to mend again. Sleeping late with an excuse of weekends should not be entertained. Parents are advised to be a little strict in this case.
- Turn on Reading Mode: This pandemic has paved the way to educate students digitally. The 7 hours of school timing has changed its mode to digital. The students attend their school, tuition classes and extracurricular classes, mainly on their smartphones or laptops. Harvard researchers have shown that the blue light emitting from the devices’ screen is harmful to the eyes. It deteriorates the sleeping pattern, quality, and takes longer for teens to fall asleep. When the reading mode is activated on the screen of phones and laptops, it adds a yellow tint that protects the eyes.
- Relax: Students should be advised to loosen up their mind an hour ago before going to bed. Very few people are lucky to sleep the moment they hit the pillow. But most of them generally take around 30 minutes to sleep genuinely. They should not take any stress or tension to bed. They can listen to some soothing songs before going to bed; it might calm ones having problems. They can take a bath in warm water. It will help them unwind the whole day’s pressure.
- Sleep-friendly bedroom: It should be made sure that teens have an appropriate sleeping ambiance. The sleeping environment should not be neglected as it creates a big difference. The body has to send signals to their brain that they are ready to sleep under favourable conditions. Turn it into a quiet and cool room. All the devices in the room should be turned off. Parents should advise teens to blackout their space to ensure good quality sleep. Shut the door and close the drapes on their windows. Books should not be piled up in the bed. One should have adequate space to have a night of quality sleep.
- Control intake of caffeine: Caffeine is the most preferred drink among students. It helps students to stay alert but kills sleep. Parents must monitor teens drinking coffee, tea, or any other caffeine drinks like coke at all costs. Caffeine consumed within 6 hours of sleep will have an effect on night sleep. Apart from impacting students’ sleep routine, it can also increase blood pressure, heart rate, digestive problems, muscle cramps. Excessive intake of coffee can lead to anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. Herbal tea or green tea should be offered in place of coffee.
- Limit afternoon naps: The long naps taken in the daytime or afternoon can disrupt the night sleeping schedule. It lowers the quality of night sleep. They should be short-term; not more than 30 minutes should be allotted to the afternoon naps. Students should set an alarm to wake themselves up. Teens can engage themselves in some fun activities to avoid naps.
- Physical exercises: Sound sleep is the result of regular activities. Exercises raise the core body temperature. After intense workouts, the decrease in body temperatures indicates to the brain that it is time to sleep. The tiredness caused by exercising will ensure tight and quality sleep. Teens should set 1 hour from their everyday routine for exercises. Walking, running, jogging also works well. Mediation should be practiced to ease down their thoughts. It slows down metabolic activity and reduces anxiety, thus improving sleep.
- Aromatherapy: Essential oils are another most recommended way to sleep better. Essential oils like lavender, jasmine, rose and sandalwood are the most preferred ones to reduce wakefulness and increase non-REM sleep. Their sedative and soothing effect does all the magic. Rosemary and peppermint essential oils are proven to improve mood and health. Some essential oils are also useful in treating anxiety and depression.
- Healthy Diet: A balanced diet containing white rice, green vegetables, fish or egg, and milk should be consumed. Snacks that are high in carbohydrates like cereal, fruit juices, and fruits like bananas should be preferred over all. Dinner should be eaten at least 2-3 hours before going to bed. Avoid overeating or less eating before bedtime; this might cause digestive problems and acidity later at night.
When even after following all the tricks mentioned, one might not get the desired results. If the teen does not succeed in developing a successful sleeping habit, then a bigger step must be taken. Sometimes, there can be underlying health or mental issue. It will be highly advised to consult with an expert in that case.