As a parent of a teen who struggles with mental health and addiction, there are many ways you can help them heal and thrive. One aspect of their life that is significantly beneficial is sleep. Getting enough quality sleep can help teens learn new things, recover from trauma, and maintain good mental health.
Although it will likely take time, ideally, your teen will begin to self-manage their sleep and prioritize it. As a parent, you can help them learn how to build self-care practices into their lives that will benefit their physical and mental health throughout their lives.
The Importance of Sleep for Mental Health
Sleep can help your teen improve their mental health in many ways. As a parent, you likely have seen changes in their mood and behavior when they do not get enough sleep. By improving their sleep, your teen can decrease the risk and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Additionally, sleep helps them to improve their cognitive abilities, attention, and emotional regulation, all of which are important in recovery.
Anxiety and Depression
There are many ways to help your teen manage anxiety and depression. A unique combination of factors will impact these specific mental health challenges. Research has found that sleep is often a contributing factor in developing anxiety and depression. Teens whose sleep is disrupted or who are not getting enough are more likely to experience symptoms of both disorders.
The connection between sleep and mental health symptoms is a result of changes that occur in the brain when sleep is disrupted, or from a lack of sleep. When your teen does not get adequate sleep, their adrenaline and cortisol rise. These changes affect how they feel.
Cognitive Abilities and Attention
Your teen’s ability to think clearly and focus is important for addiction recovery, success in school, and learning new skills. However, these abilities can be negatively impacted if they are not getting the proper amount and quality of sleep that they need.
Research studies have also found that a lack of sleep decreases an individual’s mental health by decreasing attention, logical reasoning, and short-term memory. Therefore, by getting enough sleep, your teen will be more capable in school and at home to learn new things and face challenges.
As a parent, you know that emotional regulation is a skill that teens are in the process of learning. It takes time for them to manage their emotions. While part of the challenge is due to their developmental stage, sleep can also play a role. When teens do not get an adequate amount of sleep, their ability to regulate emotions is greatly diminished. Therefore, by helping them to improve their sleep, they will be more capable to work through emotional challenges.
Mental Health and Addiction
Many teens with mental health challenges also struggle with addiction. As a parent, you want the best for your teen. One way of doing so is to help support them in building a good foundation of mental health. This is generally a combination of self-care practices, professional assistance, medication, and other things.
By helping your teen improve their mental health, you are also decreasing their risk of substance misuse and developing addiction. Mental health disorders can cause symptoms that make teens reach for substances to manage. Additionally, the changes in the brain due to mental health disorders can put your teen at a higher risk for addiction. Therefore, improving sleep can help manage their mental health and decrease their risk of addiction and/or relapse.
Helping Your Teen Build Self-Care Practices for Mental Health
Providing a foundation of support for your teen can be difficult. However, your support in helping them learn and build self-care skills will have lasting effects. The first step to helping your teen build better self-care practices is to open up communication. Talk with them about the value and importance of self-care. Depending on the situation, some of these conversations can be had with a mental health care professional who helps you navigate.
The next step is to help your teen create new patterns and behaviors that improve their self-care. To improve sleep, this might include creating a sleep or bedtime routine, improving exercise habits, and talking about electronic use. All of these things play a role in your teen’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. These changes are not easy to make, and your teen will likely struggle with one or many of them. However, you can help them make a plan, and, with practice, their skills will improve.
It is important to remember that you are working with your teen. This means helping them take responsibility for their actions. Your assistance and support are invaluable for their success; however, they need to put in the work and believe in the plan for it to be successful.
Getting an adequate amount of sleep is extremely important for healing from mental health challenges and addiction. It will help your teen build and maintain good mental health. When your teen struggles with mental health or addiction, sleep is particularly important. At Sustain Recovery, we believe that, in treatment, teens need to learn skills that help them heal and maintain their mental health throughout their lives. Therefore, we help them to improve self-care routines that they can take home. However, as a parent, you can help them manage and adjust these routines over time. To learn more about our programs and services designed to help your child succeed, call us today at (949) 407-9052.