Find out your parenting style with my parent personality quiz!

Find out your parenting style with my parent personality quiz!

COURSE LOGIN

Ask Dr. Meg: When Teens Can’t Sleep

Picture of Dr. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker

Hi Dr. Meeker–

My 15- year -old daughter sometimes has trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.  When this happens, she becomes anxious which then makes the whole sleep situation worse.  We have tried many typical things:  electronics are put away, the room is dark, use of a mediation tape and sound machine, getting ready for bed and going to bed around the same time, turning the alarm clock so that she can’t see the time, and sometimes a warm shower.  She says she isn’t concerned or worried about anything.  Any other suggestions?  What are your thoughts about the use of melatonin supplements?  Thank you for your time.

-Mom of Sleepy Teen

Dear MST-

If I had a nickel for every teen that has difficulty sleeping I’d be a millionaire. Here’s what can happen to teens. Many have trouble sleeping and the reasons are varied: sleep apnea, sleep disorders, fatigue, overstimulation and busyness. I don’t know much about your daughter, but if she is a typical American teen, I can tell you that she is probably more tired than you think and fatigue plays a critical role in poor sleep. Just like infants, when teens are over tired, they can’t fall asleep or stay asleep. Insomnia can become a real problem because the harder they try to sleep, the more frustrated they become and this leads to poorer sleep.

Before you do anything, pay attention to her sleep cycles. Does she snore? If so, she could have sleep apnea and this can cause chronic fatigue that can worsen sleep. Does she fall asleep and then awaken after one or two hours? If so, she may have a sleep disorder. If she has either of these, take her to her doctor. If these are not true, then she may suffer from issues common to most teens.

Most children ages 14-18 lack a healthy rhythm of activity alternating with quiet in their lives. They live in constant over-drive. Too much auditory, visual or physical stimulation supercharges them, and they experience constant adrenaline surges with few or no quiet moments during the day. Your daughter needs a routine where she isn’t plugged in all the time. The best thing that you can do for her is to establish a couple of hours during the day when she can be with a screen (computer, television, phone, Ipad) and then make her put them away. Even if she is stimulated all day but stops at 6 pm, this could be too much for her because her brain can’s turn off the stimulations from earlier in the day. She must have scheduled quiet in her days so her brain can have a break.

Finally, take a hard look at her schedule. Is she over booked? She should have several days during the week when she comes home before or near dinnertime and has a few hours to relax. Everyone needs downtime and in my experience, most teens either don’t have it or if they do, they are afraid of boredom so they turn on a screen. The best thing that your daughter can do for her sleep is to take more walks during the day with you by her side or at least without her phone on.

Try hard to rein her in and infuse quiet and some rhythm into her days. You are doing all the right things with her sleep hygiene so keep doing them. I’m not an advocate of using supplements to help kids sleep, but sometimes 2-3 mg of melatonin can help in a pinch. Sleepytime tea, warm milk with a little honey can also help. Make sure to let her sleep in on the weekends and if she still can’t sleep after a month of these changes, talk to your doctor.

Our Sponsors

Skylight-Meeker

Skylight Digital Picture Frames are the perfect bridge connecting you to the special moments of those you love! It’s private, pre-loadable, and you can personalize it! Visit SkylightFrame.com

As a practicing pediatrician and mother I recommend Phyla because it works wonders without any side effects and is backed by dermatologists.

Visit phylabiotics.com, enter code DRMEEKER at checkout, and start your journey to healthier skin.

Here’s the perfect gift to inspire and delight that young person in your life!

Sign up at Crunchlabs.com/DRMEG and get 2 boxes free!

That’s why you’ve got to check out AquaTru.

AquaTru purifiers use a 4-stage reverse osmosis purification process, and their countertop purifiers work with NO installation or plumbing.

Transform Your Tap Water

Air Doctor

Air Doctor, purification to protect your home! Head to airdoctorpro.com and use promo code DRMEG and you’ll receive UP TO $300 off air purifiers!

Cozy Earth
Our goal is to help you create a sanctuary within your home, a refuge from the demands of the outside world.

Head over to cozyearth.com and use promo code DRMEG for an exclusive 35% off.

Acorns makes it easy to start automatically saving and investing for your future. Head to acorns.com/ or download the Acorns app to start saving and investing for your future today!

Your pet can’t choose healthy, but you can! Choose Whole Life Pet for human grade, freeze-dried, nutrient-rich, all natural food and treats for your dog or cat!

Visit wholelifepet.com

Born Shoes

Step into comfort by visiting BornShoes.com and take advantage of our exclusive offer. Use promo code DRMEG to enjoy a 15% discount and receive free ground shipping on all full-price shoes.

Green-chef-Meeker
The #1 Meal Kit for Eating well. Go to greenchef.com/60drmeg and use code 60drmeg to get 60% off plus 20% off your next two months.  greenchef.com to start now! 
Masimo-stork-baby-monitor

Masimo Stork is a revolutionary new baby monitor. SET technology has been in use for 25 years in the NICU units of America’s hospitals – now that same technology is available at home. Masimo Stork tracks real time, with your baby’s pulse rate, oxygen saturation, and skin temperature. While not a medical device, it can ensure more confident and calmer parenting. To learn more, go to masimostork.com.

Sponsors

Skylight-Meeker

Skylight Digital Picture Frames are the perfect bridge connecting you to the special moments of those you love! It’s private, pre-loadable, and you can personalize it! Visit SkylightFrame.com

Crunch-Labs-Meeker

Here’s the perfect gift to inspire and delight that young person in your life! The CrunchLabs build box subscription. Crunchlabs packs the fun into science by sending kids a new toy to build each month. And everyone’s favorite youtuber Mark Rober’s teaches them how! Kids LOVE IT! Go to Crunchlabs.com/DrMeg and get yours today!

Powerful purification to protect your home

Lock this special offer by going to A-I-R-D-O-C-T-O-R-P-R-O dot com and use promo code DRMEG.

Discover luxury she deserves!

Head over to cozyearth.com and use promo code DRMEG for an exclusive 35% off.

Save, invest and learn from one easy app.

Visit acorns.com

Your pet can’t choose healthy, but you can! Choose Whole Life Pet for human grade, freeze-dried, nutrient-rich, all natural food and treats for your dog or cat!

Visit wholelifepet.com

Step into comfort by visiting BornShoes.com and take advantage of our exclusive offer. Use promo code DRMEG to enjoy a 15% discount and receive free ground shipping on all full-price shoes.

Green-chef-Meeker
The #1 Meal Kit for Eating well. Go to greenchef.com/60drmeg and use code 60drmeg to get 60% off plus 20% off your next two months.  greenchef.com to start now! 
Masimo-stork-baby-monitor

Masimo Stork is a revolutionary new baby monitor. SET technology has been in use for 25 years in the NICU units of America’s hospitals – now that same technology is available at home. Masimo Stork tracks real time, with your baby’s pulse rate, oxygen saturation, and skin temperature. While not a medical device, it can ensure more confident and calmer parenting. To learn more, go to masimostork.com.

More Posts

Sponsors

Skylight Digital Picture Frames are the perfect bridge connecting you to the special moments of those you love!

Here’s the perfect gift to inspire and delight that young person in your life! The CrunchLabs build box subscription.

Your pet can’t choose healthy, but you can! Choose Whole Life Pet for human grade, freeze-dried, nutrient-rich, all natural food and treats for your dog or cat!

Masimo Stork is a revolutionary new baby monitor. SET technology has been in use for 25 years in the NICU units of America’s hospitals.

The #1 Meal Kit for Eating well. Go to greenchef.com/60drmeg and use code 60drmeg to get 60% off plus 20% off your next two months.  

Thrive Market – the customized and economical way to shop organic, non-gmo, and healthy.

Website-Dr. Meeker (8)
Feeling a a bit uneasy about having "the talk" with your son or daughter?
Dr. Meeker is here to help! “How to Talk to Your Kids about Puberty & Sex (ages 8-18)” is her most comprehensive course ever and she’ll equip you to have that conversation with knowledge, confidence and sensitivity. Check it out!

More Tools to Simplify Fatherhood