Your teen isn’t getting enough sleep, what do you do?

Your teenager is not getting enough sleep. How do you help her? Hi, my name is Kent Toussaint
with Teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501c3 organization, Child and Teen Counseling,
both here in Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon, I jump onto Facebook Live
to answer your parenting questions. And if you need more support with your child, teenager,
your family, please contact us at the link below. You can also join our Facebook group, Tips
on Teens, and join our email blast, too. Thanks a lot. All right, here's our question on Tips
on Teens. Hey, Kent. Hello. My 15 -year -old isn't getting enough sleep. I feel like since the
beginning of the school year she's been getting to bed later and later because of homework and
school projects. It's turned into a vicious cycle. I think she also has anxiety that's keeping
her up as well. It takes her a long time to fall asleep now. Any suggestions on how to go about tackling
this problem? Yes, thank you for the question. There are

many reasons why this could be happening. Obviously, I don't know for sure because I don't know
your family, but here are some questions you want to tick off the list. Number one, screen time.
What is her relationship with screens? How much is she on screens? Not only just for school stuff,
but social media, videos, gaming, you know, discord, whatever that is, most kids nowadays,
are on screens, a majority of the day, I mean, just just recreational use is four to six hours
a day. That's not including school time. And what the research is finding out is all that excessive
screen time is impacting a teenager's brain is impacting mood regulation, hormone development,
and you know how that relates and hormones are a big part of how we are in the world. It's really
important that helps our mood regulation. So it's really important that we help your child
pull back screens, we cannot expect that she's going to self regulate this on her own. She's
a teenager, she has a developing prefrontal cortex

right here in the front of her brain that handles emotional regulation, impulse control, the
ability to see cause and effect that is impaired. Not her fault. She's 15. Every 15 year old's
prefrontal cortex is impaired compared to an adult's. So you may need to work with her to make
sure that if her bedtime, let's say is 11 o 'clock, that you know, by 9 930, she is logged off of
all screens, because it takes a while for the brain to recalibrate after being on screen so much.
And I know this may sound like a daunting task, but you also may need to help her manage her time
better when she is home from school, has her snack, and how does she start rolling into homework
without her phone in her hand? And the problem again, so many teenagers have that FOMO, fear
of missing out. They're so scared of not having that phone, not responding right away, that
they'll lose everything. And we need to find a way to help your child slow down on the screens.
I'm not saying take them away completely because

you know it's kind of toothpaste out of the tube right but we need to kind of have some barriers,
not barriers, some boundaries here to help her because she can't do it herself and again the
most important thing about this is do you have a strong healthy supportive relationship with
your daughter it's hard to do that with a teenager I get it but making sure that there's time where
you guys can relate to each other connect when it's not about homework, not about socks on the
floor, not about anything else but to where she feels like you enjoy being with her. Now again
she's gonna push away from you a little bit, that's normal and I encourage you to keep trying
to make that effort. Other things to keep in mind and again you should double check this with
your pediatrician or dietitian or nutritionist but like caffeine use that could impact her
sleep and also her anxiety, sugar, again, I'm not an expert on all that stuff. But I just common
sense and all the clients I've had anecdotally, that

can be a big part of it. I encourage you to consult with your medical professionals to confirm
if those things are part of it. But anxiety, what's causing this anxiety? And if there's, if
it's caused by things like stress at school, stress at home, maybe having a safe place for your
daughter to talk about this, in whether it's group therapy, individual therapy, family therapy,
where she can kind of process through and get on top of this anxiety may help her fall asleep.
Also, moderate physical activity. So many of us humans in America are so sedentary because
we get so used to just sitting down and being on a screen and maybe she needs to you know get some
more exercise. Again, talk to your doctor about what's an appropriate level exercise for your
daughter. It's a big topic. It could be a lot of things but these are some the big things that I
see often in my practice for my teenagers and my kids that I work with who are struggling with
sleep. It's a big thing. You need sleep. Your teenager

needs at least, according to studies, about nine hours of sleep a night. And I know that's a tall
order, but I encourage you to find a way to do that because sleep is gonna help her regulate her
emotions, her anxiety, and help her be a more functional human being. That's our question for
today. Again, my name is Kent, Toussaint with Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen Counseling.
If you'd like me to answer your question here on Tips on Teens, email us at tips on teens at teen
therapy center .com or just direct messages right here on Facebook. And if you like more support
at Teen Therapy Center, or Child and Teen Counseling, give us a call. We'd love to support you.
Thanks again, guys. See you next Wednesday. Bye bye.

Ensuring your teenager gets the recommended 9 hours of sleep each night might seem like a daunting task. If you’re nodding in agreement, thinking, “How on earth do I achieve that?” rest assured, you’re not alone. Many parents today find it increasingly challenging to prioritize their children’s sleep, vital for healthy brain development.

One of the primary culprits behind teens’ sleep deprivation is the ever-present screen. Studies reveal that adolescents spend an average of four to six hours daily on recreational screen time. That’s a staggering amount! This extensive exposure to screens not only keeps teens up late but also disrupts their sleep patterns, leading to poor sleep hygiene. If this scenario sounds familiar, it’s time to take action.

Consider also whether your teen is getting enough physical activity. Regular exercise contributes significantly to better sleep quality. Furthermore, examine whether anxiety and stress from school are affecting your teen’s sleep patterns. Addressing these underlying factors is crucial for fostering healthier sleep habits.

If emotional issues are at the root of your teen’s sleep deprivation, seeking help from a therapist is essential. Emotional well-being is closely linked to sleep quality, and addressing any underlying concerns can significantly improve your teen’s overall health and happiness.

In conclusion, while ensuring your teenager is getting enough sleep may present challenges, it’s vital for their well-being and development. By addressing factors such as screen time, physical activity, and emotional health, you can help your teen establish healthier sleep habits and thrive.

There’s more to say, and we don’t sleep on the topic in this Tips on Teens:

“Hey, Kent. My 15 year old isn’t getting enough sleep. I feel like since the beginning of the school year she’s been getting to bed later and later because of homework and school projects. It’s turned into a vicious cycle. I think she also has anxiety that’s keeping her up as well. It takes her a long time to fall asleep now. Any suggestions on how to go about tackling this problem?”


Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here –

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.