Supporting Teens: Sleep Difficulties

It’s likely that a fair number of teens will not be getting optimal sleep, either because without the need to get up for school, they’ve come somewhat nocturnal during lockdown / holidays or because worry is making it hard to sleep, or because they’re occupied with their online lives.  Good sleep is a fundamental underpinning of good mental and physical health and making small changes to sleep can often make a big difference to how we feel and our ability to cope with things.  

When should I worry?

It’s to be expected that as young people settle back into school that they’ll be more tired than usual, both due to a change of routine and also because school requires a lot of us and is tiring!  So a little bit of lethargy and yawning should not be cause for concern.  However, we may need to put in place support for children whose tiredness does not begin to dissipate after a few days or who give you further cause for concern; perhaps they seem anxious, hopeless or tearful. 

What should I do?

Revisit the basics of good sleep hygiene with all children.  Everyone will benefit – as will you.  Consider what a good sleep routine looks like and help children understand the fundamental importance of sleep for good mental and physical health.  Children who are really struggling, or not trying, to return to usual sleep patterns will often benefit from a little mentoring or supportive listening as will those who are showing signs or low mood or anxiety.

Further support

What teens need to know about sleep and how to teach them – webinar playback

Improve Children’s Sleep With These Top Tips – on demand course

The Teen Sleep Hub is a resource by teens for teens about sleep by The Sleep Charity

The Sleep Foundation is a fantastic source of idea and advice about sleep useful to both children and adults: www.sleepfoundation.org