I have been waking up every night at 3:00am and I am awake until my alarm goes off at 7:30. I stopped watching TV or going on the web after dinner and I also tried drinking chamomile tea but it hasn’t helped me sleep through the night. I am very tired during school and I feel like l cannot bear this lack of sleep during the entire school year. Please, can you help me?

Thank you for your question! The blue screens of devices, such as a smart phone or tablet, have been found to interfere with the sleep hormone melatonin, which may cause you to have trouble falling  asleep. So, it is great that you have stopped watching TV or using the Internet after dinner, and are drinking caffeine-free tea with calming effects instead. While teenagers typically need 8-10 hours of sleep each night to function well during the day, many have a hard time getting enough sleep each day. Sleep problems can be caused by various reasons, such as going to bed and waking up at different times each night, stress, poor nutrition, stimulants like caffeine, or not getting enough physical activity.

You may want to try the following ideas to see if they help improve your sleep at night. You could try to set a consistent sleep schedule during the school week as well as the weekend, such as going to bed at the same time each night, not napping during the week, and not sleeping in on the weekend.  It may also help to develop a nighttime routine where you allow yourself to relax and wind down at least 30 minutes before going to bed. Try doing a quiet activity, such as listening to calming music, reading a book, or doing deep breathing. Also make sure that your body is getting enough nutrients throughout the day and avoid beverages with caffeine (soda, tea, energy drinks, etc.) especially after 3pm. You could also try getting more exercise during the day, since physical activity improves sleep and might make you sleep longer at night. If you still have sleep problems after trying these things, be sure to make an appointment with your health care provider.