Can school stress negatively affect teen sleep?

school stress and teen sleep

It’s tough being a teen, I think we can all agree on that. Even if those years are long behind you, it’s probably easy to recall some of those uncomfortable feelings and moments that are typical during that awkward and difficult transition from childhood to adulthood.

Every generation has unique challenges. These days, teens have to contend with finding themselves and trying to make good decisions while navigating the world of social media.

No matter what generation it is, school seems to add a huge layer of stress to one’s life. It’s stressful to deal with hormones, new relationships, new experiences and the stresses of school.

It’s becoming clear that school stress can negatively affect teen sleep. Homework, too many activities, stress about the future and worrying about the competitive nature of deciding on a path for that future, all of these things can keep a teen up at night.

And when teens don’t get enough sleep, it can cause a chain reaction that might be difficult to recover from. Teenager’s brains and bodies are still developing and their lives are still filled with new experiences that their brains are trying to make sense of. They NEED deep rest for proper growth and for their bodies to chemically balance.

Here are some tips to help your teen get enough sleep at night

Time management

Instilling good habits for time management early on will normalize things like deadlines, punctuality and going to bed at a reasonable hour. Encourage things like keeping appointments and setting reminders in an online calendar and discourage all-nighters.

Avoid late night screen time

Most teens are attached to their phones and computers and it can be tough to convince them to put them down. Try setting rules like no screen time an hour before bed and encourage reading or journal writing instead.

Develop stress solutions

Help your teen find healthy ways to deal with stress. This might be a creative outlet, some physical activity or mindfulness techniques like meditation and yoga. Good communication will also help to relieve some of the stress that comes from living through the teenage years and helping your teen realize that they are not alone and that their problems are real and understandable will help relieve some of the pressure they might be facing.

Realize the importance of down time

Some teens have schedules that have them going from morning ’til night with no downtime in between. When a person is constantly on the go, their central nervous system is activated the entire time, sending chemicals through their bodies that can increase the build up of stress. Down time is important for everyone, especially teens.

Let them sleep

It might seem insane that your teen wants to sleep until noon on the weekends, but maybe it’s not so terrible. If their bodies and brains need rest, maybe you can reach a compromise. Try one sleep in (for as long as they want!) per week and see how that goes.

School is a tough time for teens so it’s a good idea to help them focus on relaxing, time management and deep, restful sleep.