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“Kids & Teens: How Sleep Impacts their Mental Health”

Hello Families! Welcome to my Parenting V-blog! I’m Victoria, a master of marriage & family counselor out in Brentwood, Tn. I specialize in working with kids & teens, and parents. 

I am providing education on how sleep impacts your teen's mental health but much of this information can be applied to kids under 13 as well. I’m also going to provide a few tips to help with sleep routines.

Remember this video is for educational purposes only and does not replace therapy.

So your teen is getting to bed by midnight and rolling out of bed at 6:10 to catch a 6:30 bus. No problem, at least they are getting up on time so what if they are only getting 6-ish hours of sleep?

No big deal right? 

Wrong: Not getting enough sleep is kinda a big deal: ok a very big deal:

The risks of chronic lack of sleep are steeper than just a moody teenager or cranky kid. 

Long-term lack of sleep impairs frontal lobe brain development. That's your teen's and kids' ability to control impulsive behavior. Studies have found and not surprisingly, that lack of sleep puts teens at risk to engage in risky behaviors such as drunk driving, texting while driving, failing, risky sexual behaviors, fighting drug and alcohol use. 

Long-term lack of sleep has high links to poor mental health outcomes such as the increased risk of disorders like anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. Also, can increase the risk of suicide.



So How Much Sleep Do My Kids and Teens & Kids Need?

The National Sleep Foundation and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine state:

  • Teens need 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night

  • Children ages 3 to 10 years of age 10 - 12 hours of sleep per night.

Tips to Promote Good Sleep Habits for Your Teens:

First, I want to acknowledge it can be really challenging but not impossible to start good sleep routines with your teen. And yes, you are right they are totally not going to like it at first, who likes sudden change? The struggle is real, but it's doable.

Tips for the Talk with a Teen and children:

  1. Always invited them into a discussion rather than barking out changes or orders

  2. Ask for their ideas and input on making changes to support good sleep habits

  3. Ask them what they know about the consequences of lack of sleep

  4. Ask them to share what they notice about themselves and others when they don't have enough sleep

  5. Share the facts

  6. Make changes in small increments rather than make 10 changes at once

  7. Build the new sleep hygiene routine together

Tips for Good Sleep Habits:

  1. Set a screen time cut off to 30 minutes to 60 minutes before bed (experiment with this time)

  2. Help them get at least 20 minutes of sunshine (this promotes the development of natural melatonin: Melatonin is the chemical our brain makes and releases in order to fall asleep)

  3. Help them get 20 mins of exercise daily ( can be a daily family walk)

  4. Do a calming activity 20 to 30 minutes before bed (coloring, listening to soothing music or mediation/ breathing/tapping, warm bath, etc)

  5. Make a bedtime ritual routine

Research Credits:

CDC Students & Sleep 

Sleep Foundation Teens & Sleep

CDC Children & Sleep

Texas Children: Why Sleep Matters

American Journal of Medicine: Sleep Among Adolescents

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