5 TIPS TO INCREASE SUCCESS
Supporting habits of the ONE HABIT
The number one killer of sleep for teens from parents surveyed was the amount of screen time just before bed. The blue LED light of our screens stimulates our brains more than an incandescent light bulb reflecting off of a book, making it harder to fall asleep. Add to this a stimulating tv show with a great cliffhanger and automatic play of the next episode, or the potential drama of social media, and it becomes more difficult to shut down our brains.
- Try blue light filtering glasses in the evening.
- Reduced screen time, especially before bed.
Supplements and Caffeine
Caffeine suppresses the Adenosine receptors and reduces our sleep drive temporarily making it harder to fall asleep.
As our brain works it burns a lot of 'fuel'. The result of our daily brainwork is the byproduct Adenosine. During the day our Adenosine levels increase creating a sleep pressure. We get tired. During sleep our brain 'washes out' the excess Adenosine resetting us for the next day.
Caffeine stays in our system a long time. We should not have caffeine late in the day or in the evening. That said there is some variability in how our bodies filter caffeine from our system from person to person.
- Stop caffeine use by early afternoon.
- Melatonin and Lavender have been shown to assist in kicking off the initial sleep cycle.
A question we should ask ourselves is this; should our teenagers be on caffeine?
Did you know that one way to kick off our night's sleep is through a drop in our core body temperature? This is a normal part of our sleep cycle. A drop in our core temperature helps signal a release in melatonin, preparing us for sleep.
Having a bath or hot shower will actually assist in dropping our core temperature when we get out. Our skin is pink and this is due to the increase in blood flow. When step out of the shower or bath the air against our wet skin conducts heat from our body.
Another factor on core temperature is our room temperature and amount of bedding. If we are too warm we have more difficulty falling asleep.
- Have a hot shower or bath before bed!
- Reduce your room temperature at night!
Our son is a drummer. One of the last things that he did every night was to drum, before 9 pm! We set this end time for drumming for our neighbors benefit (and ours)! This was our sons 'mental health' time and a reward for getting everything else finished. Your teen will be different. Use something that they enjoy as a 'wind down' for preparing for bed.
- Journal before bed or read a book.
- Video game time with blue light blocking glasses.
- Make sure the activity is not too mentally stimulating.
Find ways to reduce the amount of time your teen needs from wake up to the school bus or the car.
Prep the night before!
Showering and setting out their clothes, picked beforehand, to reduce their morning routine and increase their sleep opportunity.
What is the latest your teen can sleep in and still make it to school?
Start with you!
Consider making some positive sleep changes in your life as a good example for your kid(s). Our kids are watching us and learning from us whether we like it or not. Showing the way through example can help the whole family. If we are unable or unwilling to change should we expect more from our children? Just a thought from a fellow parent.