Help your teens get needed sleep - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Help your teens get needed sleep

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Many teens seem unable to get to bed before 11 p.m.    As much as we try to make 10 o'clock the official bedtime, by the time they've gotten home, finished homework, eaten supper and texted pals, the evening has all but evaporated.

America's teens are sleep deprived, and we need to help them. Here's how:

  • Establish a consistent bedtime, including on weekends. Our bodies follow a circadian rhythm (our body's "clock"). Going to bed too late or having an inconsistent bedtime disrupts this normal cyclical pattern, making the sleep we do get less effective.
  • Eliminate distractions. Teens' bodies need to downshift to a slower, quieter gear. Auditory and visual stimulation only make this more difficult.
  • Exercise.  Exercise is great, but not before bedtime. Cardiovascular exercise just before bed can act as a stimulant.
  • Get a snack, but make it a good one. Sweets can cause a drop in blood sugar in the middle of the night, waking your teen. But complex carbs such as whole-grain cereals may improve the quality of sleep.
  • Know your teen's medications. Some commonly prescribed drugs used for conditions like asthma and allergies can cause insomnia. Check with your doctor if you suspect medications could be part of the problem.

As a father of three, I can tell you-sleep is extremely important for the health of you children, and because of that- try to make bedtime a consistent routine. 

From the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, I'm Dr. Tedd Mitchell, and this is the President's Prescription.

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