I Love My Bed
March 2018 is National Bed Month! However, I really don’t need any more encouragement to spend time in bed. I love my bed. There is no place that I would rather be. I usually start thinking about my bed at around 8 o’ clock in the evening having already changed into my pyjamas, closed the bedroom curtains and turned my electric blanket on in preparation! I go through the same bedtime rituals every night, getting as much ready for the next morning as possible and I do everything in exactly the same order before turning the light off! I absolutely must have three pillows, the covers have to be pulled right up to my neck and I just can’t stand having anyone (not even if you are my husband) breathing in my general direction. It has taken me this long in life to work out the exact conditions that I need in order to get a good night’s sleep. I can now accept the fact that I just don’t like being up late past my bedtime, come 10 o’ clock all I want is to be asleep. Teenagers and sleep, however, are another matter.
When my children were small I very quickly established a bedtime routine. We all knew where we were and what was coming next, no surprises and generally, everyone slept well. Once I had found a formula that worked for us I made sure that I stuck as closely to this routine making only a few small adjustments for as long as I possibly could. That is until my daughter started secondary school and I was forced into re-evaluating pretty much the whole bedtime thing! The older your children get the later their clubs run and I found that homework was taking up a large chunk of time in the evening, which all meant that timings had to be pushed back just to fit everything in! All my carefully thought out routines were no longer fit for purpose and just about everything needed tweaking.
I also found it very strange going from doing absolutely everything in my power to get my children to go to sleep (and to stay asleep) to then getting used to them not wanting to wake up, at all! Their sleeping patterns went from one extreme to the other. As they get older it starts to become clear that teenagers and sleep are very different to toddlers and sleep but their sleep is equally as important to get right. So, having come to terms with the fact that I now have to share the remote control and the sofa of an evening with two extra people, I can see that the day will come when I will be putting myself to bed way before my children tuck themselves in!
Teenagers and Sleep
As our children get older and their minds and bodies change, so do their sleep patterns. Professor Russell Foster of Teen Sleep Research Project at the University of Oxford, states that when you enter your teens your waking and sleeping times become later and later. Teenagers and sleep have recently come to the forefront of studies with the onset of electrical devices and the part they play in the interference of teen sleep routines. So how do you make sure that your teenager is getting the correct amount of sleep in order for them to be happy and healthy? As an ex-teaching assistant in a secondary school, I have seen with my own eyes how lack of sleep can have a seriously damaging effect on a child’s ability to function in the classroom. Professor Russell Foster states that without the correct amount of sleep;
In the school in which I previously worked, there were many different reasons why some of the children were not managing to get the NHS’s recommended amount of eight to nine hours sleep a night. These ranged from playing computer games and chatting with friends on phones late into the night, to anxiety related issues and sleeping environments which were not conducive to sleep. Something, however, that all the children I supported had in common was how difficult they found it to reestablish a good sleep routine once they had fallen into bad habits. They found themselves caught up in a vicious circle of not getting the right amount of sleep, at the right time. Luckily, there are some easy changes you can encourage your teenager to make which can have a positive impact on the amount and quality of sleep they receive.
NHS Tips for Teenagers and Sleep:
Teen Health: What To Take If Your Teenager Is Going Into Hospital