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Teenagers need eight to ten hours of uninterrupted sleep. If they don't get it, they are putting their health at risk. Sleep habits, such as consistent going-to-bed and wake-up times, and reducing screen-time at night, are just as important as diet and exercise for a teen's overall health and wellbeing. 

growing healthy kids in south west sydney

 

Hormonal changes during teenage years can shift a teen’s body clock by 1-2 hours causing them to be tired later in the night making it harder to get a full night’s sleep especially on school nights.  

 

Getting enough sleep is vital for thinking, learning and concentration skills while also helping to manage stress and eat better. A lack of sleep can lead to aggressive, inappropriate behaviour such as yelling at others, weight gain and overall poorer quality of life/wellbeing. Long term sleep deprivation can affect a teenager’s mental wellbeing, increasing the risk of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. 

 

To improve your sleep, you can try the following: growing healthy kids in south west sydney

  • Avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, and energy drink in the afternoon and evening. 

  • Avoid smart phones and other devices around bedtime. 

  • Avoid excessive light exposure from screens. 

  • Encourage an early night every Sunday. 

  • Choose restful activities during the evening such as reading. 

  • Keep the bedroom dark at night. 

  • Be consistent with sleep and wake times even over the weekend. 

  • Consider how after school activities i.e. part time work, homework, sport and other social commitments might be affecting sleep. 

  • Follow a sleep and wake routine for at least 4 weeks to help your body associate with the new sleep time. 

  • Increasing physical activity during the day can make you more tired in the evening. 

  • If you find it hard to wind down, try a mindfulness exercise. 

If you are still having problems sleeping consider talking to your family doctor or local General Practitioner. 

[Source Better Health Victoria; Sleep Health Foundation] 

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