Tuesday, August 3, 2010

15 year old losing sleep


Knowledgeability Clarity of Response Timeliness Politeness Nomination?
10                       10                           10            10             Yes

Comment: Her response helped me clarify to my wife that my son should be allowed to sleep in on occasion. Thank you for (temporarily at least) keeping more stress out of my life.

Questioner: John

Subject: sleep

Question: My 15 year old is a great kid, but like so many his age, he is over scheduled and can find himself losing sleep over the week. Part of it is staying up too late, but he usually is in bed by 10pm and his curfew during the week is 9:30 (and he can only stay out if he is caught up on his homework).

My wife and I have an ongoing discussion about whether or not to let him sleep in on weekends. I say the boy needs to catch up on his sleep, she says that studies show he should not sleep later than 1 hour past his normal waking time (5:45). We typically argue about how long to let him sleep and wake him about 10 and then I'm in the doghouse for the rest of the day.

I understand the logic behind what she is saying, but it seems crazy to wake him for no reason (he does volunteer at church and holds a dog sitting job on some of the days, then he gets up to do those things).

I'm open to suggestions

Answer: Dear John,

My philosophy is "if it isn't broke don't fix it." How does you son feel? Is he asking to sleep in. He is 15 now & it would be a good idea for you and your wife to include him in this decision making process.

Really the goal of parenting teens is to get them independent. Who will be making this decision or waking him up when he goes off to college or gets a job?

On a physical note, studies also show you can not catch up on your sleep. Once it is lost it is lost. It is more important to get the REMs you need each night. It might be a better strategy to encourage him to get enough sleep each night.

Teens especially have a hard time because their body requires more sleep. Often they want to sleep in because of the changes in the hormones. Unfortunately our society doesn't believe in adapting for teens and they often have to be to school way too early in the morning. Before their brains are even ready to process information and function. This is the kind of information that is readily available to parents when they google studies on teens and sleep. You would probably feel better to read up on this topic.

Really it sounds like you have a really good son and have done a good job. If he isn't pitching a fit then just enjoy the peaceful ride!


M Kay Keller

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