Parent to teens and pre-teens might have noticed a big change in them when compared to their elementary-age years. Have you seen them as much lately? Are they sleeping the moment they get home from school and all weekend? And in the summertime, are you finding them catching more ZZZZZZs than UVs?
If your offspring has become more mushroom-inclined (eating and sleeping and growing, but not much else), you can probably relax. They’re likely perfectly normal and just growing. But there are some things that can be done to help, especially if their sleep habits are so off it’s interfering with day-to-day activity.
At Albemarle Square Family Health, we are committed to healthcare throughout the lifespan. From pediatrics to teens to adulthood and the senior years, we are here for you. Make an appointment with us today!
Here are some common sleep issues that affect teens.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
Kids are at the forefront of new technology, and few are unaffected by handheld devices like phones and tablets, as well as computers and TVs. They live in a time where anybody can reach somebody in a matter of a few clicks and are constantly bombarded by information. The fear of missing out or being left out of conversations between friends can make them check their screens nonstop. And all of this affects the hours of sleep they get at night.
If you’re noticing they’re having too hard of a time getting up, their grades are dropping, or that they’re falling asleep in odd places, have a frank discussion about screens. The blue light from screens can interrupt circadian rhythms, specifically, the body’s natural release of melatonin in the evening hours that signals the body to fall asleep. Give them the chance to set responsible limits, but if they’re unable to cut themselves off, make it a rule to hand in all devices at bedtime.
Diet and Exercise
If your child is sedentary, has a poor diet, and drinks caffeinated beverages, their sleep can be greatly affected. An issue that stems from lack of sleep and an unhealthy diet is that they’ll be at much greater risk of obesity, inability to focus, depression, and even sleep apnea.
Help them out by keeping healthy foods and snacks available. Don’t buy chips, soda, candy, and other foods that are high in salt, sugar, and artificial ingredients. Encourage outside adventures, going out with friends, hobbies, and activities that keep them active and engaged.
Depression could stem from the body’s prolonged lack of sleep, and on the other hand, disrupted sleep can contribute to depression starting. If your teen is sleeping too much, it could be a sign of depression. It’s a cycle that’s tough to break, so getting the help of a doctor or psychologist is crucial. Get to the heart of what’s causing the depression, and come up with a care plan to determine how to treat both the mental health and to bring sleep levels to a healthy point.
More Serious Disorders
Too much sleep could also be the result of other more serious disorders, so if you’ve tried all of the above and your child is still sleeping far too much, it’s time to get a medical professional involved.
Be sure your teen is up-to-date on all their physicals, immunizations, and other wellness visits. Make an appointment with Albemarle Square Family Health today!