Sometimes it seems like teenagers do nothing but sleep. They sleep in class. They sleep on the bus and in the car. They oversleep in the morning. They're still sleeping in the afternoon. In fact, the one time you can pretty much guarantee your teen won't be sleeping is when everyone else in the family should be. As a parent, you may find the whole thing a bit frustrating to say the least.
Not only is your child moving into a more independent phase of their life, but they're sleeping away any hope you had of ever spending time with them-not to mention the time they should be spending on homework and chores.
Still, they say its normal so the question is, why? And what can you do about it?
The truth is that while teens are nearing adulthood, physiologically, they are still growing kids and they simply need their sleep. The average teen requires something like nine hours of sleep a night. Unsurprisingly, most of them don't get it. While we may have ideas about curfews, few of us are willing to even try to enforce a bedtime at that age, and rightfully so.
Teens are also at a stage in their lives when they are exploring their independence. That, coupled with a physiological change in their circadian rhythms means that they feel most awake when they should be thinking about calling it a night. Some teens find they simply cannot fall asleep until long after eleven. To add even more weight to this problem, most teens wind up in schools that, for the first time in their lives, start much earlier in the day. So in essence, they go to bed late and get up early during the week, never getting the full amount of sleep necessary to their continued wellbeing.
Not surprisingly, most teens cope in a variety of ways that really only exacerbate the problem. In the morning, they drink coffee to help themselves feel more alert. Then they continue to drink it all day. The inevitable result is that they're wide-awake when its time for bed. So they continue on with their week and get less and less sleep. When the weekend comes, they throw themselves into the luxury of sleeping in and staying up late.This replenishes their sleep, but it also throws their schedule even further out of whack. Ill times naps and mentally invigorating evening activities make things even worse.
Essentially, your teen is caught in a cycle that they didn't start and need help ending. In order to make the best of the situation, your teen should put themselves on a regular sleep schedule that does not change on the weekends or week days. They should try to set an evening wind down routine that avoids tv and computers and instead tells their body its time to think of sleep. Finally, they should avoid caffeine for at least five hours before bed. If they do all this, they'll find they get their eight to nine hours and you'll get your teen back.
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