Better Sleep for Young people: Evidence-Based Tips for Parents

Sleep Matters TeamBlog, child sleep, sleep tips, sleep tips, teen sleep

Hard to sleep alone

At Sleep Matters Perth, we believe in empowering families with the latest science-backed tips to improve sleep. Drawing from the latest research, we’ve compiled practical recommendations you can implement today.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)

One of the most effective interventions for improving insomnia in young people is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). This approach combines cognitive techniques to address unhelpful thoughts and beliefs about sleep with behavioural strategies to improve sleep habits.

CBT-I has proven highly effective in treating insomnia in young people, with lasting benefits even after therapy ends. By addressing the root causes of sleep difficulties, CBT-I equips young people with tools to develop healthy sleep patterns for life.

“During CBT-I, we work with your teen to identify and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to their sleep problems. We also introduce behavioural strategies such as sleep restriction, stimulus control, and relaxation techniques to promote better sleep habits.”


Dr Melissa Ree, Clinical Psychologist Perth

Lifestyle Factors: Exercise, Screen Time, and Routine

Lifestyle factors play a significant role in promoting better sleep. Regular exercise has been linked to improved sleep quality and duration in young people. Encouraging your teen to engage in physical activity during the day can help them sleep more soundly at night. Being outside and getting sunlight during the day is also helpful.

Limiting screen time before bed can also be useful for some young people. Interestingly, the latest research suggests that it’s likely not so much the light emitted from the device that is the problem*!

“Instead, it’s that using screens often makes people delay their bedtime, leading to less sleep. For some teens, very engaging content on the phone may also make the mind too active for sleep. Establishing a firm time to put the phone away and charging the phone outside of the bedroom may help.”


Dr Melissa Ree, Clinical Psychologist Perth

Maintaining a consistent sleep routine is another key factor. By going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends, you can help reinforce your child’s natural sleep-wake cycle and promote better sleep quality.

Creating a Sleep-Friendly Environment

Creating a sleep-friendly environment is essential for promoting restful sleep. This includes keeping the bedroom cool, dark, and quiet, and reserving the bed for sleep only. Encourage your child to engage in relaxing activities before bed, such as reading a book, nice music, watching some TV, taking a warm bath, chatting about their day, or practicing gentle stretches or meditation. This can help signal to your child’s body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

Addressing Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can significantly impact sleep quality in young people. It’s important to help your child develop healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress and anxiety. Encourage them to practice mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or journaling, to help them process their thoughts and emotions before bedtime.

If your child is experiencing persistent stress or anxiety that is affecting their sleep, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counsellor who can provide additional support and guidance.

Seeking Professional Support

While implementing these evidence-based strategies can be highly effective, it’s important to recognise that some sleep issues may require professional intervention. If your child is experiencing persistent sleep difficulties despite your efforts, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a sleep specialist or healthcare professional.

At Sleep Matters Perth, we understand the challenges families face in promoting healthy sleep habits. That’s why we’re committed to staying up-to-date with the latest research and providing practical, evidence-based solutions tailored to your child’s unique needs.

By implementing these strategies, you can help your child develop the skills and habits necessary for a lifetime of restful, rejuvenating sleep. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of sleep experts for personalised guidance and support on your journey to better sleep.

Investing in your child’s sleep health today can have a profound impact on their overall wellbeing, academic performance, and quality of life. Let’s work together to help your children get a better sleep for a brighter, more energised future.

Sources

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15402002.2023.2182305
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1087079224000376

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