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If you do a web search for sleep and stress you will find hundreds of articles and studies solely dedicated to this topic. If you are stressed, you can have issues with sleep. If you are not sleeping well, it adds to your stress. It is a cycle that will continue if you don't make some changes now.

Stress affects everyone. No one can avoid it and because of this we all need to learn how to deal with stress so that it doesn't affect our sleep and inevitably our health. But, how adults deal with stress and sleep issues can be different than how children and teens deal with them. Teaching children and teens early in their lives the importance of reducing stress and getting quality sleep is crucial.

Children

A little stress is normal, but how your child handles stress is key. Setting your child up for a healthy relationship with stress when it happens will benefit them for years to come. By dealing with anxiety, the goal is that better sleep may occur.

Prepare your child on how to deal with stress.

Our children often stress over making mistakes because we, as adults, teach them that bad habit through our own lives. Kids needs to understand that mistakes will happen, and you will deal with them. Don't overreact as a parent when your child messes up. Your reaction can either add to the stress or diffuse the stress. Encourage the child to participate in finding a solution. Don't fix it for them. They need to be part of the process so that in the future they can problem-solve an issue when you aren't there.

Don't overschedule your child. Kids are expected to give their attention to their teachers for seven hours and be fully involved in their extracurricular activities only to come home and do homework before bed, which normally results in setting back their bedtime later and later. Then they get up and do it again the next day. Make sure your child has some dedicated free time each week. Create a regular bedtime routine, and try to hit that most days of the week.

Teens

Sleep problems that result in lack of sleep or sleeping for too long can make teens more prone to stress, potentially affecting their performance and behavior in school.

Make the mornings more organized.

We've all been there. Running out the door, while grabbing a breakfast pastry. That is not the best practice every day, but it happens. Stress from being disorganized can affect everyone. In particular when your teen is staying up late and then sleeping in, a morning wake-up call can throw the morning into a tizzy. Encourage getting things together the night before so that if they do sleep in five more minutes that it won't be the end of the world. Simple tasks like choosing clothes, making sandwiches, and finding (both) shoes can aide in a more peaceful morning.

Make sleep a priority.

As a teenager, it is so easy to stay up late, chatting or beating that next level on their Xbox, but getting enough sleep is vital in calming stress and boosting mood, which in turn will improve school performance and health.

They may not like it but having a specific time allowance for electronics (that includes the phone) may be what it takes to ensure a better sleep routine. You could make their bedrooms a no-electronics zone, if it is too hard to monitor. Their bedroom should be a place where they wind down. Taking the distractions away could be the solution.

The key to successfully reducing stress and making sleep more fulfilling will ultimately depend on you. They are watching you. So, if you aren't monitoring your stress levels and are not focusing on achieving a positive sleep routine then your child won't either. Work together toward a healthy sleeping schedule that everyone can benefit from.

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