Insomnia in Teenage Girls
Recent studies have shown a marked increase in insomnia in teenage girls after they begin menstruation. These findings relate to many other sleep studies showing women are more likely to suffer from insomnia than men, due to the hormonal changes in their bodies throughout their lives.
The study, published in the Pediatrics journal, shows around 11% of 13-16 year old girls suffer from insomnia, and, for most, they began having insomnia around age 11 – the same age most girls begin to get their period. Before age 11, girls and boys have an equal likelihood of developing insomnia, but after this age, girls are at much greater risk of developing insomnia.
Teenage girls, it seems, are even more at risk. Stress over schoolwork, boys and social situations can result in a lack of sleep. Teens often like to stay up late talking on the phone or Internet, as well as go to parties and experiment with drugs and alcohol. All these things can contribute to insomnia.
If you know a teen girl suffering from insomnia, there are plenty of things she can do to help sleep better.
- Many teen girls don’t get enough exercise. Doing physical activity for one hour a day (at least four hours before bedtime) helps your body to crave rest at night, meaning you fall asleep faster and sleep much deeper.
- Cutting back on alcohol, caffeine (including soda drinks, chocolate and energy drinks) and fatty, sugary foods before bed can help you sleep better, as these keep your body awake.
- Making sure your room is cool, dark and comfortable.
- Moving siblings out of a teenager’s room can make a huge difference. Many girls who slept with a sibling their entire life may suddenly find it difficult in their teenage years.
- Removing stimuli such as a computer, TV and telephone from the bedroom. Keep the bedroom just for sleeping.
- Try relaxing activities before bed, such as reading a book, meditating or taking a relaxing bath.
- Eat a healthy balanced dinner, but not right before you go to bed.
- Try herbal sleeping pills. These have minimal side effects and won’t have a negative impact on a teenage girl’s fragile immune and hormone system.
Teenage girls are particularly susceptible to insomnia due to their hormonal state and the changing nature of their bodies and environments. If you are, or you know, a teenage girl suffering from insomnia, be assured, it seems to be a normal part of growing up.