You can’t force your teen to sleep, but you sure can set them up for success with these affordable sleep aids
Teenagers are growing fast — both developmentally and physically. They need tons of sleep during this phase, but in a lot of ways the deck is stacked against them: many high schools start way earlier in the morning than any institution should and kids are so excited to engage with the world that it’s tough to pull them away from socializing, screens, and doing whatever they do in their room at all hours of the day and night.
That would be all well and good, except a lack of good, deep sleep can mean tired, irritable kids who don’t perform well in school, don’t have energy to exercise, and certainly don’t want to help around the house. Nobody wants that, except for them, maybe.
While it’s out of our control to force their eyelids closed or even really to set a bedtime, there are a few things we can do to help them get more sleep and more restful sleep — and the solutions don’t have to break the bank. Below, we’ve collected our favorite and most trusted sleep aids, and don’t worry, none of them involve medicating them into a stupor or anything. Although that sounds nice.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Scary Mommy’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Here’s an economical product that can help your teens both get to sleep and stay asleep – they don’t involve putting anything into your body and they’re easy to install. We love that these particular blackout curtains are only about $16 per window and that they come in all sorts of colors (22 to be exact) to please even the pickiest teen. They’ll help your teen get to bed if you have light pollution around your house and stay asleep, especially if they’re trying to catch up on a few hours of slumber on the weekend.
White noise machines are great for covering up noise that can keep us up and by letting our minds stop their inner-monologues and rest. Especially if you have noise in your house or your neighborhood that might be keeping your teen away at night or early in the morning, a noise machine can help. We like the price point on this one, the thousands of rave reviews, and its simplicity. A few features we love: 40 non-looping sounds, a timer, a USB port, 32 levels of sound, and a memory function to store your favorites in.
This charging station is not for your teen’s room. It’s for your room. Tons of studies have shown that one of the best things you can do for your teen’s sleep is taking away their screens at night. They get to disconnect, avoid blue light, and stop scrolling and chatting with friends. While you can’t institute a bedtime with your teens, you sure can make sure that all phones and tablets and watches are plugged into the family charging station at a certain time – and then that’s it for the night.
We love how different this is – and it really works for us. The Dodow sleep aid creates a blue glowing light on your ceiling that helps you take bigger, slower breaths. The breathing exercise prepares your body for sleep while calming and relaxing you. Choose either the 8- or 20-minute session and see how fast you drift off. We love that this slows down teen’s spinning minds and gives their brains a rest after a lot of screen-staring.
We aren’t big on giving teens over-the-counter or prescription drugs for sleep aids unless we talk to their doctor and have a problem of larger scope on our hands. But if your teen is really having sleep troubles, you might want to bring up the option of melatonin with your pediatrician – it’s a natural sleep aid that kind of gently nudges your brain to sleep at night. We like Nature Made because it’s a respected supplement brand and it comes in the lower 3 mg dose. Of course: absolutely talk to your kids’ doctor before trying any supplements for sleep.
How about some simple aromatherapy to help your kiddos get some shut-eye? We love this pillow spray that can also be used on other sheets and linens – and that contains lavender oil, a scent that’s been proven to relax and calm people before bed. It’s very affordable and lasts forever, and it’s vegan, organic, natural, and all that other good stuff that you look for on a label before spraying a substance on your kid’s pillow.
Have you tried out a sleep mask lately? They are so much better than they used to be, and they can really help you have a longer and more restful sleep. Our favorite pick are these super-affordable ones, which are super lightweight and eye contouring – and comfy but secure. We love that they come in a three-pack, too, in case your teen misplaces them twice (or you can grab a pair for yourself).
This is a tiny bit pricier than some of our other picks, but it might be worth it if you’re looking for a gentler, more effective way to wake up your teen each morning at the same time. Part of good sleep hygiene is waking up slowly and at a prescribed time, and this alarm clock is the best one we’ve found. At the set time, very soft light and very soft music come on, and then slowly ramp up over a set amount of time. The alarm also serves as mood lighting (with seven colors to choose from) that teens love. And hey, maybe it will prevent you from banging on their door eight times every morning.