How to Help Teens Who Have Trouble Sleeping

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How to Help Teens Who Have Trouble Sleeping

You might think of insomnia as something that only happens during adulthood, when the stresses of professional and family obligations can be extreme. 

But today’s teens are also under an increasing amount of pressure from school, work, extracurricular activities, and their peers. The internet and social media are additional sources of anxiety and stress.

With so much on their shoulders, it’s no surprise that so many teens also suffer from insomnia. In fact, some studies have found that nearly 40% of teens suffer from insomnia at some point, leading to the same risks that plague adults with the condition.

At Atlanta Insomnia and Behavioral Health Services, our team helps teens in the greater Atlanta, Georgia, area overcome sleep problems with therapies tailored to their specific needs. As a parent, here’s what you should know about sleep therapy and how it can help your teen get the restful sleep they need.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia

We specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), a type of therapy designed specifically to treat the root causes of insomnia and help your teen adopt healthy sleep behaviors. 

Using CBT-I, we help your teen understand their thoughts and beliefs about sleep. For example, when a person knows they have trouble sleeping, they may become fixated on those problems, making them too anxious to fall asleep or stay asleep. 

Once we identify those beliefs and behaviors, we help teens replace negative thinking patterns with positive thoughts and behaviors.

In addition, most CBT-I therapies include additional steps and techniques to help teens improve their sleep habits.

Sleep hygiene 

Most people associate hygiene with bathing, teeth brushing, and other activities associated with maintaining your body. But sleep hygiene is important for health and wellness, too. Generally, sleep hygiene includes activities and behaviors that promote healthy sleep, like:

  • Setting and maintaining regular bedtime and wake-up times
  • Avoiding caffeine and large meals in the evenings
  • Using dim lighting in the hour or so before bed
  • Turning off phones and computers before bed
  • Keeping the bedroom temperature cooler

It also includes incorporating restful activities, like a warm bath or reading before bed, to help your body and mind wind down.

Relaxation techniques 

We also teach teens powerful techniques to help them relax. That includes activities like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or progressive muscle relaxation, all simple activities your teen can learn and practice regularly.

Stimulus control 

Stimulus control simply restricts your teen’s bed to only sleep and relaxing activities, like reading or listening to calming music. 

You teen should perform other activities, like watching TV or using a cellphone, in other areas of the house. The goal is to help your teen’s brain automatically recognize the bed as the place for sleep, making it easier for your teen to relax and focus on sleep.

Parental support: What to do

As a parent, you can help your teen adopt healthy behaviors, like:

  • Limiting screen time
  • Encouraging regular exercise
  • Sticking to a normal bedtime

If possible, consider swapping an uncomfortable mattress for a more supportive option or trade in old pillows and bedding to create a cozy, relaxing environment.

Let your teen know that therapy solutions are available, and show support for helping them find those solutions. Finally, suggest a preliminary meeting with our team to discuss CBT-I and other therapy options to help your teen feel more in control of their sleep and their health.

To learn more about CBT-I and the other sleep therapies we offer for teens and adults, request an appointment online or over the phone with our team at Atlanta Insomnia and Behavioral Health Services today. Our office is located in Decatur, Georgia.