How to Sleep Longer (for Kids and Teens)
Many kids and teens do not get the required 9 to 10 hours of sleep that their bodies and minds need. This is often because kids and teenagers go to bed too late and then need to wake up early for school. This lack of sleep can impact your grades, athletic ability, mental health, and in severe cases can cause car accidents. In order to sleep longer, you should create a relaxing bedroom environment, keep a consistent sleep routine, and make lifestyle changes. If you are still struggling to get enough sleep, then you should talk with your parents or doctor.
Creating a Relaxing Environment
Set a cool room temperature.When you fall asleep, your body temperature naturally cools. In order to facilitate this process and help you fall asleep, keep your room at a relatively cool temperature. For example, your room temperature should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15-20 degrees Celsius), while sleeping. If your parents won't change the temperature of the entire house, you may want to use a fan in your room.
- You can also try taking a warm bath or shower before bed. This will warm up your body making your room feel cooler.
Put blackout shades on your windows.Remember that your sleep-wake cycle is light sensitive. As a result, you want to create a dark environment to help you get to sleep.Try using blackout shades on your windows or an eyemask to manage light pollution.
- In the morning, open your blinds to let in natural sunlight. This will help your body wake up.
Create a quiet atmosphere.Loud noises can prevent you from falling asleep. In order to create a quiet atmosphere, tell other members of your family to be quiet when you go to bed. Alternatively, you may need to try earplugs. These are an excellent option if you can hear your parents talking or the TV from your room.
- They can also be helpful if you live in a loud neighbourhood and you can hear your neighbours or street traffic.
Use your bed only for sleep.You may find it easier to fall asleep if you associate your bed with sleep only. Your bed should not be the place where you complete your homework or play video games. This is because you may begin to associate your bed with the frustration that comes along with completing assignments.
- Set up your video game system in your living room or rec room instead of your bedroom.
Turn off all technology at least an hour before bedtime.This means you will have to turn off your cellphone, tablet, TV, computer, and any video game system. The light from the screens can actually interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
- The light that is emitted from technological screens causes your brain to make less melatonin, a hormone that signals your body to fall asleep.
- This also prevents you from using social media around bedtime, which can cause stress, making it more difficult to fall asleep. For example, you may struggle to fall asleep after reading that your crush has just started dating someone.
Keeping a Consistent Sleep Routine
Try to get 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night.Kids and teens need anywhere from 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night.This likely means that you need to go to bed earlier. During this time in your life, you are undergoing a period of intellectual, emotional, and physical growth. This requires a lot of energy and the extra rest allows you to wake up refreshed and ready to meet a new day!
- To ensure that you are getting enough sleep, try making a sleep journal to track your sleep.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.This allows your body to find its natural 24-hour circadian rhythm for going to sleep and waking up. This rhythm is based on the amount of light and darkness you experience during the day. It determines when you go to sleep and wake up each day. Consistency will make your sleep more restful.
- You can still sleep in slightly on the weekends, but try not to adjust your sleep schedule by more than two hours. If you stay up too late or sleep in until noon on weekends, your body will not be able to easily adjust on Monday, making you tired and unproductive.
Write in a diary or journal before bed.Perhaps you have trouble sleeping because you have a lot on your mind. Deal with your worry and stress before you get into bed by writing a journal. This can be a great way to relax and unwind before bed..
- For example, you could write a reflection about the day, jot down creative ideas, or write about how you are feeling.
- You can also make a list of everything you need to do the next day so that you will not lose sleep worrying about forgetting anything.
Engage in relaxing behaviours before bed.Rather than playing video games or watching TV right before bed, try engaging in a relaxing activity. This will help you transition into a more relaxed state. Once this behaviour has become habit, your body will associate it with sleep.
- For example, try an activity that calms you, such as breathing exercises, reading, yoga, or listening to quiet music.
- Avoid taking part in overly stimulating activities such as listening to loud music or watching a horror movie.
Making Lifestyle Changes
Finish your homework early in the evening.Thinking about your homework is stimulating, so you want to complete it a few hours before going to bed. If you leave your homework to the last minute, you will need time to unwind before you will be able to fall asleep.
- For example, avoid doing homework within an hour of your regular bedtime.
Avoid caffeine products in the afternoon.Caffeine is a stimulant and could make it difficult to fall asleep if consumed before bed. As a result, you should avoid drinking caffeinated beverages, such as soda, energy drinks, coffee, and tea anytime after midday.
Exercise during the day.Exercise helps to increase your metabolism and provide you with energy. If you take part in exercise during the day it can actually tire you out, making it easier to fall asleep at night. That being said, if you engage in rigorous exercise immediately before bed, you will likely struggle to fall asleep.
- For example, you could exercise by running, dancing, playing a team or individual sport, or working out at the gym.
Make your mornings easier.You will be able to sleep in longer if you prepare for the school day before you go to bed. For example, you can bathe or shower in the evening to save time the next morning. The evening is also a convenient time for you to pack your school bag and plan what you will wear, eat for breakfast, and take for lunch the next day.
- Even if you wear a uniform to school, you can lay out your clothes including socks, shoes, and any hair accessories to help save time in the morning.
- Ask your parents to make you a breakfast that can be eaten on the bus. For example, peanut butter toast with a banana on the side.
- Preparing the night before, will allow you to wake up at the last possible moment before heading to school!
Take a short nap during the day.It is okay to take a short nap if you come home from school feeling exhausted. Your nap should be no longer than 20 to 30 minutes and should not take place after 5pm. If you are going to take a nap, set an alarm so that you do not oversleep.
- Sleeping for longer than 30 minutes could cause you to go into a deep sleep and you will feel groggy when you wake up.
- Similarly, napping too close to bedtime could make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
Cut back on extracurricular activities.Many young kids and teens, like yourself, engage in a variety of extracurricular activities. Although these are often fun and positive experiences, they may impact the amount of sleep you get each night. For example, your extracurricular commitments may cause you to complete your homework later in the evening, making it difficult to fall asleep.
- Make a list of all of your after school activities and commitments, such as a part-time job, track and field practice, homework, socializing with friends, etc. Then decide which activity you can cut in order to ensure you get enough sleep.
Practice time management skills.You must be as productive as possible throughout the day. For example, work on your homework during short periods of free time between different activities. This will help you complete all of your daily tasks without impacting your ability to get a good nights sleep.
- A period of 10 to 15 minutes may not seem that long, but you may be able finish a short homework assignment if you get several of these free moments throughout the day.
Talk with your parents.If you are having difficulty getting enough sleep, talk with your parents about the problem because they may be able to help you. For example, your entire family could focus on developing good sleep habits. If everyone in the house is trying to get more sleep it may help you sleep better as well.
- Ask your parents if you can dim all the lights in your house or apartment around bedtime. This will help signal to your body that it is time for sleep.
- Similarly, the whole family could try turning off all technology after 9 pm. The lack of distractions will help everyone begin to wind down and prepare for bedtime.
Visit your doctor.In some instances, a lack of sleep could be a result of an underlying medical issue. If you are struggling to get enough sleep and it is impacting your ability to concentrate during the day, you should seek medical attention. For example, perhaps you are suffering from chronic insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, reflux, periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), or restless legs syndrome (RLS).
- Explain to your doctor how much sleep you get each night, and how you constantly feel tired and drained of energy.
- You should also explain where your sleep issues come from. For example, do you have trouble falling asleep at night? Do you wake up throughout the night as a result of bad dreams or difficulty breathing? Do you nod off in the middle of school?
Complete a medical assessment.In order to diagnose an underlying health or sleep issue, your doctor will likely complete a number of medical assessments. For instance, they may evaluate your overall health and sleep habits, ask about your family medical history, and inquire about any medication you are taking.
- This assessment will help your doctor determine the type of treatment necessary for your particular situation.
Treat any medical conditions.If your doctor discovers that there is an underlying medical condition, such as sleep apnea or insomnia, they may provide you with treatment options. Depending on the issue, you may be treated with medication, light therapy, or other sleep techniques.
- Be sure to follow all instructions and tips provided by your doctor.
QuestionI am 12 and I sleep from 10pm-7am, but don't feel well rested. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry sleeping an extra hour or two. The normal range for people your age is 9-11 hours, and which part of that range is ideal varies depending on the individual. It may be that 10 or 11 hours is right for you.Thanks!
QuestionI always wake up a few times during the night. How can I prevent this?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt's unlikely you can prevent it. Just stay in bed, keep the lights out, and think calm, relaxing thoughts until you fall back asleep.Thanks!
QuestionI'm 12, and on weekends I like to go to bed at around 11:30 in order to sleep, but I'm used to waking up for school early. How can I extend my sleeping pattern on the weekend?Top AnswererIt is healthier to stick to the same pattern, even on the weekend. Sticking to your body's natural rhythm (aka circadian rhythm) improves your health considerably. In sleep, our body is full of hormones that serve all kinds of purposes, e.g. relaxing your muscles. If your body is used to waking up at the same time every day, it starts flushing out these hormones a little while before you usually wake up, leaving you feeling refreshed and energetic when you wake up. To prevent this and sleep in, make sure your room is dark and turn over when you do wake up, to keep on sleeping.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I fall asleep if my fish's tank filter keeps me awake?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerEither move the tank or sleep in a different room. You could also try putting on some white noise or nature sounds that will cover up the sound of the filter.Thanks!
QuestionI am 10. I go sleep from 9pm-6am. Is that enough?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, I believe that much sleep is enough. You're getting nine hours of sleep, which falls into the recommended 9-11 hours that kids should have. If you don't feel tired in the morning when you wake up, then you've have enough sleep.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I get a good night sleep before school?SarahCommunity AnswerGo to bed earlier.Thanks!
QuestionIm 13 years old, and tonight I only got about 3 hours of sleep. Should I go to school?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWhat is the reason for 3 hours sleep? Studying? Sickness? Time spent on an electronic device? The answer will determine the response to your question. If you were irresponsible with your time, you should go to school and deal with the fatigue. Get at least 8 hours of sleep in. Remember your sleep can affect your behavior, conversation, attitude, and brain!Thanks!
QuestionI am 12 and just lay in bed at night, I only feel awake during the day if I have a very short sleep. What can I do?Top AnswererYou may just need a shorter amount of sleep. Try getting in bed later when you can fall asleep immediately and don't set an alarm. Whenever you wake up should tell you how many hours you need, so just sleep that amount every day.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I have trouble sleeping as long as I need to?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou may need to talk to your parents about taking some kind of sleeping medicine, like melatonin. Make sure you aren't spending too much time on electronic devices right before bed either, as that can make it more difficult for your brain to relax into sleep.Thanks!
QuestionI am 10 and go to bed at 10 and wake up at 9, but I want to sleep longer, what should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDon't sleep for too long, as you will become cranky. Since you are nearly reaching puberty, your hormones are changing and you are becoming more tired. As a 10-year-old, you should sleep for 9-10 hours, this is enough for you.Thanks!
- A lack of sleep among kids and teens is considered a major health issue. Studies have shown that only 8% of American teens get an adequate amount of sleep and approximately 59% experience severe sleep deprivation.
- A lack of sleep can contribute to poor academic and athletic performance, and can also put you at risk of experiencing depression and obesity.
- Driving while overtired leads to over 100,000 car accidents each year.
Video: Tips for how to get your child to sleep longer!
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