Sleep and Teens

Sleep and Teens

How you can help your teenager sleep better

Have you noticed your child still has their light on late at night?

  • Are they struggling to focus?
  • Are they becoming forgetful or moody?

Studies show that young people are not getting enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep affects us negatively, both physically and mentally. It can make our lives more difficult, and this is also true for young people.

How much sleep do young people need

The amount of sleep we need changes with age. As a guide, young people need the following amounts of good quality sleep:

  • 14 -17 years 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night
  • 18-25 years 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night

Using screens before bed

Using any screen close to bedtime impacts on everyone’s ability to sleep, including young people for the following reasons:

  • Screen use in the hour before bed can stimulate your child.
  • Blue light from televisions, computer screens, phones and tablets might suppress melatonin levels and delay sleepiness.
  • Your child might be tempted to stay up late to chat to friends or play games, woken in the night by notifications, messages or calls.

Tips to support your teenager to sleep well

Screen time

Work together to look at how much screen time your child is having, this includes watching TV, mobile phones, computers and any other electronic device.

  • Keep screens outside of the bedroom. Turn off screens one hour before bedtime.
  • Turn off devices while sleeping (this may mean getting an alarm clock).
  • Be a good role model and have regular, electronic free times.
  • Create a space in the home that is designated as the screen area.

Physical activity

Encourage your child to be as active as possible throughout the day.

Physical activity, whether it is playing a sport, walking or skateboarding, will help to increase and improve your teenager’s quality of sleep. Physical activity can wear you out and can also reduce stress, creating better sleep patterns.

If you want to increase your teenager’s activity, try some of the following:

  • Create routines that involve walking, jogging or skateboarding.
  • Seek out local sport and recreation activities.
  • Make walking the dog their chore.

Nighttime routine

A night-time routine will help your teenager unwind and be prepared for sleep. Some ideas to help support your child with bedtime routines could be:

  • Being mindful of what they eat and drink.
  • Minimise contact with light. Try and dim the lights an hour before bed.

Whatever you do, try to be consistent and stick to the same sleep times each night.


Minimise your teenagers intake of caffeine such as coke, coffee and energy drinks.

Seek the help you need

To find out more visit Youth Network of Tasmania for a list of local services and online support.