Busting the Lazy Teen Myth: A Guide to Help Sleep-Deprived Teens
Tempur highlights the causes of poor sleep amongst Gen Z and gives six top tips to ensure a better night’s sleep for teenagers.
Parents may be looking forward to September and the return of a normal routine, but a long summer break can prove disruptive to the sleep patterns of teenagers. From late nights and lie-ins, to holidays, travelling and exam stress, there are many causes of poor sleep in young people.
Teenagers require between 9-9.5 hours of sleep per night, however on average they get far less, between 7-7.25 hours. Poor sleep can impact all aspects of life, but for teenagers the effects are particularly profound, causing mood swings, tiredness and irritability.
However, there are several ways to ensure a better night’s sleep for Gen Z. Here, premium mattress brand Tempur has compiled a guide to help ensure teens get the best possible sleep, ahead of the September return to work, school and university.
Tobin James, Managing Director at Tempur UK, says: “We’re all familiar with the stereotypes of moody teenagers, but the fact is that today’s teens simply aren’t getting enough sleep. There are many challenges Gen Z face and their struggles are well documented: keeping up at school and college, performing well in exams, changes to the body and, of course, dealing with the pressures of social media.
“Sleep is vital for our physical and mental well being; we simply cannot function without it. During sleep, our brains and bodies repair and grow, which is vital for teenagers as they develop. Experts also cite lack of sleep as closely linked to mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. As a parent, it’s crucial to be supportive, but also be of the various tools you can put in place to help ensure the best possible sleep for teenagers.”
- Turn off the electronics
Generation Z is the first age group to grow up with the internet, and technology is hard-wired into their daily life. Teenagers can struggle separating from the digital world from real life, and this is a key reason why they’re struggling to sleep well. Blue light emitted by phones, tablets, computers and screens causes the body to produce less of the sleep hormone melatonin, which is crucial to create natural feelings of tiredness and sleepiness. Encourage teenagers to turn off devices or put them in a different room at night.
- Limit caffeine intake
Caffeine is well-known for keeping us awake and is mainly associated with coffee and tea, but energy drinks and fizzy drinks also contain a lot. Try to limit a teen’s caffeine intake each day, swapping for herbal teas and decaffeinated coffee, and ensure they’re drinking enough water (at least two litres a day). Caffeinated drinks should be avoided up to 4 hours before bed for the best possible sleep.
- A bedtime routine
The body naturally craves a regular routine when it comes to sleep. Inevitably, teens have social commitments, revision and school work, but sticking to regular timings can really aid a good night’s sleep. Keep in mind how many hours’ sleep Gen Z should be getting (ideally at least nine hours) and encourage them to stick to regular timings each night and morning. Similarly, although having a weekend lie-in can be a nice treat, sleeping in can make teens feel more tired in the long run as it alters the body’s natural sleep routine.
The benefits of daily exercise are well-known, both as a stress buster and to help increase natural tiredness, as well as having a positive effect on mental health. As a rule, teenagers should aim to work out for 30 minutes’ every day. Exercise doesn’t need to involve a costly gym membership either, simply head to a local park for a run or take a brisk stroll at lunchtime. Exercise will soon become habitual if incorporated into a daily routine and will help lead to better quality sleep.
- Stress busters
It can sometimes feel easier said than done, but limiting stress is a key component of a good night’s sleep. Mindfulness exercises are a good technique to counteract stress and focus on the day ahead. Taking just 10 minutes to sit quietly and without distraction from tech and phones can really help to relax and destress. Try downloading the free Headspace app or taking a yoga or Pilates class to ensure a clear mind and relaxation before bed.
- Talk it through
Lying awake with something on your mind and unable to sleep is a problem we can all identify with. Sometimes, simply talking through an issue or worry can instantly lead to greater peace of mind and a solution to the problem. Teens may be unwilling to talk at first, so if you’re having trouble communicating, head out of the house to a public place, away from any eavesdropping siblings and talk it through. Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved, so encourage your teen to talk to you about anything on their mind. It’s as much about listening as giving advice, so be open-minded, supportive and patient.
- A good sleep environment
The ideal bedroom for optimum sleep should mimic a cave: cool, dark, quiet and comfortable. It’s worth investing in blackout curtains or blinds, lowering the temperature between 16-18°C and using earplugs and sleep masks if required. Keeping a room tidy and free from clutter also promotes good sleep, try adding green plants for better air circulation and try to avoid using tech in the run up to sleep. A good quality mattress and pillows are crucial to provide the right support and improve sleep quality.
For more information on Tempur, visit www.tempur.co.uk
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Tempur researches, develops, engineers, manufactures and distributes mattresses, pillows and other sleep products to improve the sleep experience worldwide.
Tempur mattresses and pillows are made from a formulation of the brand’s proprietary pressure absorbing TEMPUR material, originally developed by NASA scientists in the 1970s to support and cushion astronauts during lift-off.
Tempur mattresses offer maximum quality, comfort, support, durability, value for money and aid a restorative night’s sleep.
Tempur is the no.1 mattress brand in Europe for customer satisfaction, with 9 out of 10 customers claiming they would buy Tempur again.
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