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Sleep Issues in Teens and Kids can have Serious Consequences

By Michael Cohen, Director
Center for Brain

Insomnia isn’t just for adults. An estimated 17 percent of teens suffer from chronic sleeplessness, and the consequences can be dire. Fortunately, neurofeedback, which is what we do at Center for Brain in Jupiter, can help.

Insomnia causes more than sleepiness in school and an inability to concentrate. In a study published in 2014 in the journal Sleep Medicine that looked at 350 students in grades 7-12 in Australia, it was observed that sleep-deprived teens were more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and panic than other teens. Stanford University experts warn that sleep deprivation can also lead to suicidal thoughts and actions.


Treating Sleep Problems for more than 20 years
Center for Brain has been treating insomnia as well as depression, anxiety and panic for over 20 years. Clients frequently express great surprise at how well they begin sleeping after just two or three sessions – and this better rest frequently translates into more success at school and a happier kid at home.

The Australian study found that sleeping problems tended to show up around age 11 and that 14 percent of children in the 13-16 year-old bracket had had at least one bout of insomnia in the past month.

Sleep-deprived teens have more accidents
In addition to mood problems, sleep-deprived teens have a higher incidence of car and bicycle accidents as well as sports and occupational injuries, according to a Centers for Disease Control weekly report that surveyed 50,000 high school students. They reported that poor-sleeping teens are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as infrequent seatbelt use, riding with a drinking driver and drinking and driving.

Ideal number of hours of sleep: 9
According to many experts, nine hours is the ideal amount of sleep for the average child and teen, something that occurs less frequently as teens get older. It’s also been observed that girls have more insomnia than boys and that insomnia is much more prevalent in girls once they reach puberty.

What qualifies as insomnia?
So how do you know if your teen has insomnia? The answer is “yes” if he or she has trouble going to sleep or staying asleep and struggles with getting restful sleep at least twice per week for at least a month.

Here are some tips for helping your child get better sleep (and they work for adults, too!)

  • Consider not giving your child stimulant medications for attention. Stimulant medications can keep people awake. If your child is taking a stimulant medication, it might be time to look at neurofeedback, which can actually help with sleep and has no side effects.
  • Keep your child’s bedroom quiet, dark and cool.
  • Insist that all electronic devices be turned off by a certain time each night.
  • Minimize your child’s intake of caffeinated beverages six hours before bedtime.
  • Have your child avoid exercise within three hours of bedtime
  • Wake your child up at the same time every morning (even on weekends and holidays) to stay in synch with the sleep rhythm.

Learn more. Contact Center for Brain now!
If you’d like to know more about helping your child – or yourself – get better sleep, as well as non-medication options, contact Center for Brain for a free consultation.

We also invite you to visit our sleep disorders page to learn more about how we can help.