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Sleep

Sleep

To better understand

Although sleep is just as important to maintaining good physical and mental health as a healthy diet and being physically active, it remains a lifestyle habit that is often neglected.

For many reasons, teenagers have difficulty getting enough sleep. First, their internal clock is out of rhythm owing to puberty. This means that they naturally feel the need to go to bed and get up later. However, the reality of school life limits any flexibility.

On top of that, between school, extracurricular activities, homework, time spent with friends and sometimes even a part-time job, teens lead very busy lives. With a dysregulated internal clock and a long list of activities, it can seem unrealistic for a teen to go to bed early enough to get enough sleep.

Recommendations for time spent sleeping

Age 6 to 13

Age 14 to 17

Age 18 to 25

In the Montérégie region, one young person out of three does not get enough sleep during the week. This picture is similar for both boys and girls.

And yet, it is important for teens to get enough sleep because their body and brain are going through a rapid growth spurt. In fact, for young people sleep:

  • Allows the brain to retain the things they learned during the day
  • Is necessary for their safety and their physical and psychological health. A young person who has slept well:
    • Will have more energy
    • Will feel happier
    • Will be better able to control their emotions
    • Will adopt better lifestyle habits
  • Allows them to grow, since growth hormone is released during sleep.

 

Young people who do not get enough sleep and who are too tired have a greater risk of:

  • Having difficulties at school
  • Having problems with their memory, concentration and motivation
  • Feeling depressed
  • Being involved in automobile and other accidents.

Following are some signs that your teen may not be getting enough sleep:

  • They have a hard time getting up in the morning
  • They have difficulty concentrating during the day
  • They fall asleep in class
  • They have mood swings or they feel depressed

Want to learn more?

Check out our information sheets for more statistics, key facts, and solutions for families, schools, and communities.

To better support

Communication

  • Talk to your teen about what helps them sleep better. Decide together what steps to take to improve the amount of sleep they’re getting and their quality of sleep.

Supervision/Guidance

  • Together with your teen, determine and consistently apply the rules around bedtime and their sleep prep routine

At home

  • Make sure that your teen’s bedroom is an environment that encourages sleep with:
    • An adequate temperature
    • A calm and dark ambiance
    • A comfortable bed, pillows and sheets
  • Don’t put a TV or computer in their bedroom and don’t allow them to be kept there.
  • Forbid any distractions (e.g. cell phone, tablet, etc.) in their bedroom when it’s time to sleep. A classic alarm clock works just as well as a cell phone to wake them up!
  • Establish a warm family climate that promotes a feeling of safety, for example, by avoiding confrontations with your teen before bedtime.

Support

  • Help your teen adopt a healthy sleep routine. For example:
    • Set times for going to bed and getting up that meet the recommended amount of sleep for your teen’s age group.
    • As much as possible, have them go to bed and get up at similar times during the week and over the weekend.
    • Use their bed for sleeping only.
    • Avoid stimulating activities for at least 30 minutes before bedtime (e.g. screen use, physical activity, etc.).
    • Avoid caffeine (coffee, colas, energy drinks) as of late afternoon.
  • Help your teen with organizing their schedule, making sure they have enough time to sleep at night.
  • Suggest strategies for adjusting to stressful or difficult situations that can affect their sleep. You can even practise breathing techniques, meditation or relaxation together.

Tips and tricks

During sleep hours, you can make the rooms in your home screen-free. Also, all members of the family can adopt a healthy sleep routine. Why not try it? These recommendations are good for everyone!

In brief

  • In the Montérégie region, one teen out of three does not get enough sleep during the week.
  • Get enough sleep! That is the most important thing to remember, because the benefits for your teen’s health and well-being depend on it.
  • To get enough sleep, adopting a healthy sleep routine and an environment that encourages sleep is essential. Have a talk with your teen to structure and support their sleep habits.

Resources and practical tools

1. For support:

Do you have concerns about your teen’s development or behaviour? Do not hesitate to reach out to a support worker or a healthcare professional:

Info-Santé/Info-Social 811, 24/7 service

Community organizations: family centre, youth centre, etc.

Some community organizations offer support programs for parents of teenagers. Call your local organization for information.

School staff members are also good allies

2. To learn more:

Latest update : August 2022

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