helpful suggestions for sleeping better - for our teens

cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Reply
Parent Peer Supporter

helpful suggestions for sleeping better - for our teens

My daughter 16 is currently experiencing a spike in her anxiety ( triggered by lots of overthinking in general and particularly about her dad ) and her sleep is being affected which then of course is a vicious cycle

 

Does anyone have any good natural ideas for helping the teen brain settle?

 

I cant get her to turn off devices early, Ive given up on that....and she reads a little.

 

But I was like this myself - when the light went out my brain switched on and I overthought everything - what I did, what I didn't do, what I should've done, what someone should've done, what I might do....its was endless. If she is anything like me - I really feel bad for passing that on!!

 

 

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: helpful suggestions for sleeping better - for our teens

 @Beingme2017 My daughter has cartoons playing very quietly to help her go to sleep. It's so quiet that it's barely able to be heard but that and the light of the tv is enough to help distract from what's going on in her head. Perhaps that could help? On school nights she has to charge her phone in the lounge. 

Highlighted
Parent Peer Supporter

Re: helpful suggestions for sleeping better - for our teens

Thanks @LovingThruBlue

She doesn't have a tv in her room so that's not really an option but I can see why that would help break the pattern of thoughts
Tricky isn't it
Parent Peer Supporter

Re: helpful suggestions for sleeping better - for our teens

I was always dead set against a tv in her room and it isn't connected ant tv reception. It is for this purpose only although I do now allow her to play games on it sometimes. 

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: helpful suggestions for sleeping better - for our teens

Hey @Beingme2017, I'm sorry to hear your daughter's struggling with anxiety at the moment. I know what you mean, not getting enough sleep doesn't make for a happy teen.

 

My daughter often has trouble getting to sleep and she's found a couple of things that help her. She's grown up from a baby listening to classical music going to sleep, so she'll sometimes put a cd on.

 

I'm the same as you, decided not to fight the devices battle, and it hasn't all been bad. She researched things herself and came across ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) to get her to sleep. You can google it, but I'll also find out if my daughter has a preferred link she uses.

 

Do you think your daughter would meditate before sleep? There are great apps like Calm and another one I like called Breathe. The music and concentrating on her breathing might help her calm her mind.

 

My daughter's also discovered that if she stays up past 10.30-11pm, she misses that window of being able to sleep, gets a second wind, then can't sleep until 3-4am. I don't know if anyone else's teen has found this? 

 

The good old remedy of a mug of warm milk before bed might be worth a try.

Brushing my daughter's hair calms her too. If she's really uptight, I say I'll brush 100 times and get her to count the brush strokes. She never gets to the 100 mark because her mind has calmed before then and she's quiet and I keep brushing for a little while. 

 

It'll be great to hear what other parents have found helps their teens as well. 

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: helpful suggestions for sleeping better - for our teens

Hi @Beingme2017 Such an important discussion. Sleep is such an critical part of life, and unfortunately most of us are severely lacking.  I think a lot of it can be attributed to over-thinking and not being able to switch off!. Been there... done that!!  Smiley Indifferent

 

Some things that work for my 17 year old daughter (most of the time)...

 

We introduced a 9:30pm phone curfew on school nights about 8 months ago.  At first she hated it - but now we are at the stage where 90% of the time she surrenders her phone with minimal fuss. If she is not tired she reads a book.  This gives her heart and head a break from whatever is going on in her life and allows her to get some uninterrupted sleep.

 

Also, since she was little we played lots of thinking games when she had trouble sleeping (which we still use today). It is a great way to shut down the mind. Works great for adults too.  Probably similar to @taokat daughter counting to 100 when brushing hair (which is a great idea by the way!!) Games such as think of 5 girls name starting with the letter "A", then "B"... "C" do the whole alphabet . We would take turns to think of 5 names each. You can do the same with any topic such as, food, countries, animals..etc.  We rarely got to end of the alphabet before she was asleep. There are lots of other thinking games that we play too.  As these games make you think it forces you to switch off.  You can also play thinking games by yourself - which I have used many times to get to sleep!!  I have no idea where these games came from, probably something my mum played with with me when I couldn't sleep. Gosh... I hope this makes sense??   

 

I think there is a whole generation of kids who are sleep deprived.  Increased levels of anxiety and stress, and access to technology 24/7 play a big part in that.  I check my daughters phone notifications in the morning and she continually gets snapchats between 10pm- 6pm - when kids should be asleep!!  

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: helpful suggestions for sleeping better - for our teens

I love your idea of games @Zoesplace! I reckon that's a great way to spend time bonding, and an awesome distraction that could be used in many situations. Thanks so much for sharing. 

Super contributor

Re: helpful suggestions for sleeping better - for our teens

These are all such amazing ideas. Great discussion @Beingme2017.

I love that @taokat and @LovingThruBlue and @Zoesplace have all found different things that work.

 

Here's some of mine. This might only work in the single parent households but my teen has an open invitation to sleep in my bed and does it often.

I think it helps her feel safe and secure and loved. Which I think helps her particularly because I think she frets a lot about catastrophes like getting expelled leading to her being kicked out of home. So when she's near me it reminds her that she's loved for her and nothing will ever change that.

 

The other option is the relaxation method where you start at your toes, tense as hard as you can, holding for 30 secs then release. Then you work your way up the body tensing and releasing each muscle. This has a name and is a tried and tested method for relaxing. It's really effective.

What might work, if you have the time, is for you to sit in the darkened room and talk her through it. It's often done as a guided meditation. You could find one on the internet for sure.

 

Finally, here are some tips from the Sleep Health Foundation about which herbs can help promote sleep.

 

Hope that helps!!

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: helpful suggestions for sleeping better - for our teens

There are some really great suggestions on this thread. I'll definitely be coming back to this one when I need it Smiley Happy  After reading @Ngaio-RO 's post is reminded me that for many, many years when the kids were little they'd say "Mum can you do the floppy body thing" Smiley Very Happy I would talk them through relaxing their bodies very slowly from their toes to the tops of their heads. Worked a treat Smiley Happy 

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: helpful suggestions for sleeping better - for our teens

That's so gorgeous @LovingThruBlue Heart  I love how sharing reminds us of things we'd forgotten we knew.

 

My daughter used to come in and sleep in my bed too @Ngaio-RO. And she'd always sleep so soundly. Amazing. Unfortunuately these days she feels too grown up to sleep in her mummy's bed Smiley Sad