Recently I was speaking with a mom of a 13-year-old daughter who was explaining to me that her daughter doesn’t appear to want to go to sleep at night. She stated that the teen would be up late into the evening watching television or entertaining herself on her phone. When I ask had she seen any side effects she said she hadn’t thought about it. Mornings at their house had always been difficult and rushed. She did notice that when the teen got home, she had a snack and went to take a nap if there was no planned event immediately after school. She lamented about the fact that if her daughter didn’t get her afternoon nap the evening was usually horrible. Her child became irritable and snapped on everyone in the house on those days. I suggested to her that this behavior may be the side effects of a disrupted sleep pattern.
I have found that parents often assume that because their child is not verbally stating that they are tired or if they do not appear to be yawning and droopy eyed that their child is not tired. This is far from the case. Symptoms of fatigue can present in many different forms.
I recommend that children and adolescence get between 8 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
Disruptive sleep patterns can cause many different problems.
Signs of Sleep Problems:
Peer relation problems
Setting up a bedtime routine is key to developing well adjusted sleep patterns in children and adolescence. We often consider this when our children are toddlers. However, it is just as important for the 11 and above age group as well. Adolescence are very independent but they may still need assistance with prompting to get the routine done or creating and effective order of operations.
Finish Homework and Pack Lunch
Shower or Relaxing bath
30 minutes to 1 hour of reading
Go to bed at the same time daily (1 hour variation allowed on the weekends)
Some other tips include limiting screen time. Research shows watching television or playing games on tablets and phones actually impedes your sleep. Limit or eliminate caffeine drinks 1 to 2 hours before bed time. The goal is to create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere each night. Be sure to talk to your child’s pediatrician should trouble with sleep patterns persist once you have implemented a good routine.