What It's Like To Have Insomnia
How to Deal With Teenage Insomnia
Up to 30% of Teenagers have insomnia, but it mainly goes undiagnosed or it is just written off as normal teenage behavior.It can be hard to live with at times but there are ways to help or even cure it! Teenagers' hormones are raging through their bodies and this brings about many changes to our systems that will gradually stabilize as they approach adulthood. One of these changes is the body clock shifting by approximately 2 hours, so we get sleepy and feel the need to go to bed later and get up later. Also, because of the amount of energy our bodies need to change, we need more sleep than the rest of civilization - 7-9 hours a night. Because of the time that school starts, teenagers often cannot get enough sleep which can lead to sleep problems. Recently (July 2011) a school which moved its opening time to 10 am said that performance had increased by a whopping 30%!This article is here to help make life easier until you stabilize your sleep pattern.
Improving Your Routine
Don't drink things containing caffeine (coke, coffee, tea) at least three hours before you go to bed.If possible, cut out caffeine as much as possible, like drinking decaf tea.
Don't go to bed hungry, but don't stuff yourself.Have your evening meal at least three hours before bed and have supper if you are hungry.
Make sure the bedroom is dark when you go to sleep and light during the day.This means your body expects to sleep when it is dark.
Don't do homework in your bedroom.This brings bad associations with the bedroom and the idea of spending time in there.
Make sure your room is comfortable:Not too hot or cold and the air isn't dry.
Have a reasonable bedtime.You have to retrain your body when you get into the habit of staying up late so this must be kept up.
Don't watch stimulating TV before bed.
If you need a nap you can but only for 40 minutes between 3 and 4 pm.Try to wean this down over time.
Read in bed.This gives your body a chance to relax and wind down before sleep.
Don't watch the clock.Experts will say that if you have woken and are awake after 20 minutes, you should walk abouthowever this means you will watch the clock and expect that you will have to get up. Turn your alarm clock to the wall or cover it, especially if it glows.
Don't think about it.This may seem odd, but as long as from the second you put your head on the pillow to sleep you think about something outside of your own life, you will become less aware of your surroundings and gradually fall asleep.
Ideally, go to bed at the same time every night (yes, including weekends) and get up at the same time every day.Technically, teenagers should naturally wake up at 10 am and go to bed at around 1 am (to get the nine hours) however most of society does not cater for this so it means getting up at around seven every day.
Supplementing with Medication
Take two Advil PM pills (or similar) when you're ready to go to sleep.
Set your alarm to wake up 30 minutes before you have to.
Take 2 (200 mg) caffeine pills and fall back asleep for the rest of the 30 minutes.The Advil PMs will wipe you out so the caffeine pills serve to help you wake up. This may not be necessary, however.
- Try to get all of your affairs in order and put a positive spin on any negative thoughts you have, as troubled thoughts can affect sleep and its effectiveness.
- If you get referred to a pediatrician, most of them will suggest what this article has outlined before taking other action. If you have researched and want melatonin, it could be difficult in the UK as there are separate laws to the US, where you can buy it over the counter.
- Look into natural sleep remedies.
- Persevere with the techniques. There is no fast cure for insomnia that has gone on for longer than a month.
- Always follow the instructions for sleep remedies very carefully. If it isn't working for you, don't take more, look for another brand with slightly different ingredients.
- Get out of bed when you can't fall asleep. Don't force yourself to sleep.
- Exercising regularly can help you in getting sleep.
- Your room should be quiet, as dark as possible, and comfortable.
- Insomnia can easily lead to anxiety and depression so if you think you have insomnia, tell your parents and see a doctor as well as implementing these techniques.
- Everyone is different and these techniques may not work for you but do not give up hope. Although some cases can't go away quite so easily, there is always a way to at least make it a bit better.
- Some professionals do not listen to what you say the problem is and say an answer (sounding like it's straight from a medical textbook) with only marginal reference to your question. If this happens, say the question again and say 'but'. Large generalizations are made about insomnia so if you know something is different, make sure you say it until they listen.
- It can also lower metabolism and compromise the immune system. You will need to eat more if you have insomnia in order to have a good energy source, but try to avoid fatty foods and high energy foods with high amounts of sugar, because your body has a harder time converting fat (even normal amounts) into useful energy.
- Insomnia reduces concentration levels and has been shown that, over years, can lower IQ, so go to a doctor and try to get it sorted.
- Many people who think they are professionals (with no qualifications to show this) will Try to tell you that you are wrong about what you are going through and the symptoms you may have. Listen to real professionals and try not to get angry when people say you are wrong or don't believe you.
Video: Top 3 Sleep Tips for Children & Teens | Insomnia
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