One of the things I hear most often, (surprisingly not as a complaint however), is that the teens I work with are getting only 6 hours of sleep a night on average. And of course the usual culprits- anxiety and mobile devices. Teens are sleeping with their cell phones under their pillow or beside them often texting in the middle of the night.
Now, I run two businesses and I can assure you that even I do not have a reason to text someone at 3 in the AM! I finished reading an article this morning about this very issue which explained why technology disturbs our sleep. Basically, smart phones decrease levels of melatonin which serves as a sleeping hormone according to sleep studies done at Ohio State University. Here are some tips if you have trouble catching ZZZ’s:
1) Dimming the brightness on your phone, E-readers, or Laptop
2) Holding the E-reader at least 14 inches from your face to reduce the hormone disruption
3) Use a different method of morning alarm, or if you choose to use your cell at least move it across the room
4) Turn your cell phone off after 8 pm to avoid the temptation of responding
5) Use the sleep function on your TV or stereo so the inflections of light and sound don’t affect your sleep throughout the night
6) Avoid caffeine which will aid in reducing pre-bedtime anxiety and insomnia
7) Get a white noise machine or fan to drown out extraneous noise
8) Monitor and adjust the bedroom temperature and bed coverings
9) Follow a bedtime routine: dinner, shower, emails, read/watch TV, stretch (yoga or meditation)
10) Make a commitment to get better sleep (it won’t happen magically) so make it a priority and you’ll be sleeping, dreaming, and waking up restful in no time!
If you have any questions about how to improve your quality of life and how a Licensed Clinical Social Worker can help, contact us today!