Emsellem, Dr. Helene A., M.D., Whiteley, Carol. "8 10 "No-War" Ways to Improve Your Teen's Sleep Habits for Optimum Health, Learning, and Living." Snooze... or Lose!: 10 "No-War" Ways to Improve Your Teen's Sleep Habits. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2006.
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Snooze…Or Lose!: 10 “No-War” Ways to Improve Your Teen’s Sleep Habits
music (at a low level); or playing an instrument. My oldest daughter likes to collect thoughtful and insightful sayings and adages and rewrite them into a journal. See if there’s an activity your teen would like to pursue that will bring a feeling of peace and serenity and help her wind down. It could be the time many teens crave for solitude, privacy, and self-expression.
Strategy 3: Encourage Healthy Eating Habits
What you eat and when you eat it can have a big influence on both your ability to fall asleep and how well you sleep. The following tips will help your teen chalk up a greater amount of high-quality sleep:
Talk with your teen about the influence food has on sleep. Tell your teen that big meals close to bedtime require digestive processes that can keep her awake. Aid your teen in eating earlier by changing the household dinner hour if necessary; if dinner is usually eaten later than 7:00, work on moving it up. (Eating earlier in the evening will be good for you, too, since you absorb fewer fats from an early meal; that’s because, unless you’re a complete couch potato, you’ll generally do some physical activity after dinner.)
Encourage your teen to help out with dinner by making a salad or setting the table. Not only will it get her involved with what’s eaten, but it may earn her points for something for which she’s politicking!
Talk with your teen about avoiding sleep-preventing caffeinated foods and drinks after 4:00 p.m. This includes chocolate, both as a food group and hot cocoa; green and black teas and, of course, regular coffee; and sodas. Tell your teen that sugar also gives some people a “sugar rush” and keeps them awake.
Before lights out, drinking a cup of warm herbal tea or warm milk (without the chocolate) can help teens wind down.
If your teen is trying to lose weight, remind her that skipping dinner is not the solution. If you don’t eat dinner, you’ll feel hungry all night and your brain will keep you awake to eat. Then not only won’t you sleep, but you’ll be more likely to eat junk food late at night and take in more calories than you would have if you’d eaten a normal dinner. If your teen is hungry before turning in, advise a light snack of