When a nationally recognized organization, Tuck Sleep, reached out to see if they could write an article for Butterfly Kids Yoga focused on helpful tips for teens & kids, yoga, mindfulness and how it all leads to better sleep....um, yes please! Wow. Honored.
Tuck Sleep aims to improve sleep hygiene, health, and wellness for all ages. Their work has been featured on NBC News, Well & Good, Lifehacker, Radiolab and now, Butterfly Kids Yoga. Such a great article which hits home for not just teens, but tweens and kids as well. Thank you, Tuck!
How Teens & Kids Benefit From More Sleep, Mindfulness, and Yoga
(Written by the sleep experts @ Tuck Sleep, March 2018)
Today’s teens & kids find themselves under more pressure and stress than previous generations. They often find themselves facing peer pressure nearly 24/7 through social media, and they deal with increasingly competitive academic standards. Knowing the challenges they face, you can help them get better sleep by helping to develop good sleep hygiene and incorporating mindfulness meditation and yoga into daily routines to help reduce and manage stress.
The pressure to succeed is real, and sleep is often one of the first things to go when kids are pushing themselves to meet their many obligations. As teens enter junior high and high school, they often have the earliest start times in their school district. This early start occurs just when their changing bodies need more sleep. Almost all aspects of their lives can be affected by sleep deprivation, from academic performance to social skills.
Part of what makes it difficult for kids to get the rest they need is the shift that takes place in their circadian rhythms upon entering adolescence. In elementary school, your child may have gotten tired at 8 or 9 pm. However, somewhere in the teen years, a shift in circadian rhythms leaves them fully awake until 10 or 11 pm. That fundamental shift in the sleep-wake cycle alone would be enough to cause sleep deprivation, but add in extracurricular activities and a busy social life, and it’s no wonder kids might be dragging.
But, better sleep is right around the corner.
One of the best ways to help get more rest is to teach them methods of controlling and reducing stress. Mindfulness meditation and yoga together present an excellent way to help bring focus and calm into a sometimes turbulent time of life.
Mindfulness meditation has been shown to help reduce depression in teens & kids as well as reduce the inflammation that often comes with high-stress levels. Yoga, too, has been shown to help reduce the inflammation, anxiety, and depression that come with stress. It’s also been shown to boost mood and positive self-perception, which almost everyone can use. The best way to start meditation and yoga is under the supervision of an expert teacher. Butterfly Kids Yoga has classes specifically for teens that include techniques to improve focus and reduce anxiety.
As your child is learning to reduce stress, you can also help them develop the sleep habits that will increase the quantity and quality of sleep. Good sleep should always start in a bedroom that’s kept dark, quiet, and cool at night to allow the body the best conditions for quality rest. Check the mattress to be sure it’s not lumpy or sagging. A supportive mattress can prevent waking in the night and stiffness in the morning.
A few other habits you can start talking to your child about could include:
Keeping a Consistent Bed and Wake Time: This is a tough one for teens & kids with a busy activity schedule and homework. However, it’s one of the best ways to help the body establish a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Getting up at the same time every morning is just as important. As tempting as it might be to stay up late on the weekends and sleep in until noon, changing bedtimes can make it difficult to start school again on Monday.
Avoid Stimulants: For older kids, caffeine blocks critical sleep-inducing hormones, which means it could be keeping your teen up late into the night. Caffeine intake should be stopped at least four hours before bedtime.
Control the Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, laptop, or smartphone could be affecting your child’s ability to fall asleep. The bright blue light these electronic devices emit triggers the “awake” signal in the brain. Try to have them turned off at least an hour before bed.
Written by the sleep experts @ Tuck Sleep, March 2018
Hope you enjoyed the read! Sleep well, rest and recharge, and hope to see you at yoga soon!
- Yoga Club @ Webster Schools (K - 5th grade)
- Ages 3-5 @ Perinton Rec Center @ 10am. Next session begins 4/13! Enroll here.
- Ages 5-12 @ 11am. Enroll here.