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Teenager not getting enough sleep

Question:

My 15-year-old son is having difficulty getting enough sleep at night. He wants to stay up late into the night, but then has difficulty waking up in the morning to go to school. He has been late for school several mornings over the past few weeks. Please help!

Answer:

Many changes occur during teenage years, including sleep. Children’s sleep habits change by the time they become teenagers. Many, if not most, teenagers would prefer to stay up late and sleep late. The problem is that they forgot to inform the school system (and the rest of the world) that they would like for school to start later. Convincing schools to start later is not likely to happen anytime soon. So, until then, here are a few tips that will help your teen sleep better at night.

  • Have your teen pick a bedtime and stick to it. Teenagers are very good at finding all kinds of excuses as to why they can’t get to bed on time or why they need to stay up later. Make sure that lights are out by the designated time.
  • Your teenager should finish all homework before 10 p.m. Finishing homework is a common excuse as to why teens can’t get to sleep, and parents have a difficult time sending their child to bed without their homeworkdone.
  • Remove or turn off ALL electronics at bedtime. If necessary, have your teenager turn them over to you at night.
  • Your teen should avoid drinking caffeine after 7 p.m. Too many teenagers are drinking highly caffeinated products at night to help them focus on their homework. This makes it very difficult to fall asleep.
  •  Do not allow your teenager to sleep well into the afternoon on the weekends. They can stay up later on weekend nights, but not excessively so. This tends to disrupt their sleep schedule during the school week.

 

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