Dealing with Teenage Insomnia
Teenage insomnia seems to be a growing problem in today’s society. Teenagers simply have much more going on in their lives than they did a generation or two ago, and with this increase in business, there are some greater challenges when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.
Causes of Teenage Insomnia
There are several reasons why insomnia might strike during the teen years. To begin, with puberty and the flush of hormones that accompany this period, teens are naturally prone to the sort of hormonal imbalances that can make sleep more difficult. In addition, teens also find that they have increasingly greater demands on their time as they reach high school and begin to face the competition involved in preparing themselves for college. In order to impress their dream schools, many teens pack their schedule with not only labor-intensive honor classes but also a plethora of extracurricular activities that they hope will impress the admissions office.
During this period, teens are also much more prone to emotional upsets as they try to navigate the complicated world of high school popularity. Many teens go through several existential crises in an attempt to find their own niche in this context. Peer pressure and sexual tensions only add further layers of anxiety and excitement to these questions.
Thus, even if a teen has not had a traumatic event such as the death of a parent or abuse of some kind, they are still already prone to having difficulties getting to sleep.
Setting Good Sleep Habits
If your teen has started to have difficulty sleeping, then you might counsel them to take certain actions that will increase the chances that they will be able to get to sleep and when they do sleep, to sleep peacefully. Here are some of the best ways to increase the chances of getting to sleep:
Turn off technologies just before bed: Separating a teen from his gadgets can be difficult, but teens will find that they are much less wound up at bedtime if they turn off their cell phones, get off their computers, and avoid watching television just before bed. In terms of television, teens in general, but especially teens who are having difficulty getting to sleep, should not have a television in their bedrooms. TV—especially news programs—can not only stimulate a teen and keep them awake, but can become a sort of crutch for teens, where they feel they must always have it on. Teens are actually much better off interacting with old technologies like reading a book. The back and forth motion of the reading movement actually mimics that of the sleeping eye and in many people leads to sleepiness.
Exercise: One of the best ways to avoid insomnia is to get proper exercise during the day. Exercise has the dual affect of burning off energy and helping the person to feel more healthy, strong and confident—all of which, help the teen feel a peace of mind.
Dealing with Problems: Another way to avoid the teenage insomnia is to make sure that your teen deals with his or her problems in a timely fashion so that they do not have time to fester and become the sort of problems that you lose sleep over.
Get More Sleep: Most teens need more than eight hours of sleep in order to get their full share. Yet, as you probably know, most teens get nowhere near this amount. With all that they do, it is surprising, in fact, that they get as much sleep as they do. A teen that is starting to get insomnia should seek to allot more time for sleep.
All of these suggestions in conjunction should help the boy or girl suffering with teenage insomnia over come their bedtime issues and get the sleep they need.