Insomnia in Teens

Are you going to bed at 10 pm sharp and not able to sleep even after 12? Do you roll around in your bed for hours as sleep evades you? Are your parents cursing you for not letting them sleep too? Are dark circles and puffiness concealing the beauty of your eyes?

There are two types of insomnia. They are chronic and acute insomnia. While causes of chronic insomnia are usually associated with health conditions, acute insomnia is due to environmental factors. Usually, teens and adolescents experience the latter.

There are several reasons why adolescents experience. Some of them are listed below.

  • You could be stressing about your upcoming examinations or pending assignments. Too much workload could add to your stress. While you may not be aware of your stress, your body is certainly feeling it. 
  • You might be spending too much on your computer, television, and video games. Or you might be having late-night chatting or video calling sessions with your friends. The prolonged exposure of your eyes to the blue light from the smartphone screens could delay melatonin production. This makes it difficult for the brain to turn off and fall asleep.
  • Taking a nap in the evenings and having an irregular sleep schedule could also possibly be the cause of your sleeplessness. Napping in the early noon is fine. But if the nap is too late in the day or too long, you may find it harder to fall asleep at night.

Insomnia has many negative impacts on a teenager. You may feel constant tiredness and lack the energy to do pretty much everything. Irritability, mood swings, lack of concentration are some of the other adverse effects. You may not be able to pay proper attention in classes. Moreover, your ability to retain knowledge and information gets severely affected. 

Insomnia in teenagers is generally transient. Acute insomnia does not need any treatment. Making a few tweaks in your lifestyle should do the trick. There are few tips to help you fall asleep a little faster. Here are a few of them:

  1. Restrain yourself from having daytime naps. Try to engage in other activities. Go out with your friends. Occupy your mind to prevent yourself from feeling sleepy.
  2. Avoid caffeinated drinks before sleep. Caffeine makes it harder to fall asleep as well as reduces the amount of deep sleep you get. Stay away from caffeine for at least 6 hours before going to bed.
  3. Do not go to bed until you feel sleepy. Do not use your bed for any activities such as working, reading or playing games. Your body needs to recognise your bed as a place for relaxation and rest. Furthermore, if you do not feel sleepy at night, try reading or listening to some slow music. When you start to feel drowsy, get back in bed.
  4. Wear socks to bed. Socks help to keep your feet warm. This causes blood vessels to open up and consequently cools down the body. The body being cold tells the brain that it is time for sleep. However, caution should be taken to prevent overheating of the body. If you feel hot during sleep, kick off your socks or leave your feet out. 
  5. Stick to your sleep schedule. Train your internal body clock to adhere to your sleep timings. Having a consistent routine helps the brain to recognise the sleep hours.

If nothing seems to work for you, try consulting a doctor for medications. Do not take sleeping pills without a prescription.