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As a teen, what can I do to get better sleep?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
You need to set the perfect environment for sleep:
  • A cool, dark room is the ideal environment. The temperature and darkness signal the pineal gland to kick up melatonin production and knock you out.
  • There should be no laptops, no TV, no food in bed. Ideally, the bed is used for sleep; it’s not an office or a restaurant.
  • Add white noise. Use a fan for background noise, or one of those machines that lets you pick sounds, from the rain forest to the ocean. This drowns out other noises that might keep you up.
  • Dress appropriately. The best nightclothes should be nonrestrictive and nonallergenic (both the fabric and how it’s washed). Many people find it easier to sleep when it’s cooler in the room, although cold feet can prevent you from falling asleep, so wear socks if necessary.
  • Dim your lights a little while before bed to avoid the stimulation caused by artificial light pollution--which is all around us through TV, computers, and indoor lighting, and serves to stimulate us.
  • Don’t store your cell phone under your pillow. You’ll wake with every text message buzz and never get any quality sleep. More important, the radiation from the phone may cause abnormalities in your brain DNA and may be one reason for the increase in brain cancer in younger cell phone users. Even better, don’t sleep with your phone in your room.
  • Be consistent. Your body clock loves it when you follow a predictable schedule. Even on the weekends, try to rise within an hour (at most, two) of when you have to get up on weekdays, even if that means you need a power nap later. Otherwise, your body thinks you have jet lag on Monday morning and will protest big-time the interruption in time zones!
  • Other interrupters of quality sleep: Caffeine, the most common disruptor of sleep, and alcohol, with the interruption of the sleep cycle contributing to the “hangover” that many experience. And don’t forget about nicotine, which is another long-acting drug. Cigarettes smoked earlier in the day or chewing tobacco used anytime in the day can still keep you awake at night.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.