Teens Need Their Zzz’s

Depression in teens may be preceded by either insomnia or its opposite, oversleeping

Teens Need Their Zzz’s

By:Karen Barrow

Sleeping until noon and general grumpiness may be a stereotype of teenagers, but since mood disorders tend to begin in the teen years it is important that sleep problems in adolescents not be summarily dismissed. Poor sleep not only has a powerful impact on daytime cognitive and social functioning, but it could also lead to major psychiatric disorders.

Depression in teens may be preceded by either insomnia or its opposite, oversleeping (hypersomnia). Also, teens rarely keep to a standard routine, last-minute homework, classes beginning at 8 a.m., and late nights out with friends can severely throw off their sleep schedule. In the long run, that takes its toll.

Here’s how you and your kids can set up a healthy sleep schedule.

Set up a solid routine. Organize your schedule so you can go to sleep and wake up around the same time each day. Such scheduling will train your body to sleep when you need it to and wake feeling rested.

No naps. Even if you had a lousy night’s sleep, don’t nap during the day. Daytime napping will only make it harder for you to fall asleep at night. If you must nap, push back your bedtime by an equivalent amount of time.
Dump distractions. The bedroom should be for sleep, so put the television, computer, and radio in the living room. Keeping them in your room will only distract you from the task of sleeping.

Get out of bed. If you find yourself having difficulty falling asleep, don’t stay in bed staring at the clock. Instead, move to another room and read a book until you feel sleepy again. Then, return to your bedroom to fall asleep.

Make a list. If anxiety about everything you need to get done is keeping you up, write a list of your undone tasks, so you can put them aside mentally.

Skip the caffeine and alcohol. Coffee may wake you up and a glass of wine before bed will help you doze off, but neither beverage allows your body to wake or fall asleep naturally, resulting in difficulty sleeping or waking without them.

Exercise. A good workout can help the body sleep through the night and feel more rested and energetic during the day.

Think positively. Michael Perlis, a leading sleep researcher at the University of Rochester, suggests looking at short-term insomnia as a solution instead of a problem: “It’s more time to get done what you need to get done.”

Copyright Sussex Publishers

Source: Psychology Today
Last reviewed by Forum Admin 02-12-10

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