Tips for getting teens more sleep |

Tips for getting teens more sleep

– Take a hard look at after-school activities. Many kids are overscheduled, and may need to cut back on lessons, sports or other activities.

– If excessive homework is keeping students up past 11 p.m., parents may need to intervene and request some alterations in the course load.

– Allow some, but not a lot, of time for “catch up” sleep on the weekends. Teens who sleep very late on Saturday and Sunday may struggle to fall asleep Sunday night, notes Dr. Saul Rothenberg. “They have a sleep cycle, and if you interfere with it too much, you’ll just compound their problems come Monday,” he says.

– Limit computer, cell-phone and television use in the bedroom. “Ideally, the bedroom isn’t the place for schoolwork and TV,” Dr. Edward O’Malley says. At the very least, parents should monitor the use of both and establish shut-off times. No later than 11 p.m. is ideal.

– Monitor caffeine use. Caffeine can interfere with natural sleep cycles, and since teens naturally fall asleep later than adults or young children, a super-size, full-strength latte – which can contain as much as 250 milligrams of caffeine – will only make matters worse. A small cup of coffee has about 50 milligrams. “A lot of teenagers are drinking way too much caffeine,” O’Malley says. “They probably should avoid it after the late afternoon.”

– By Beth Cooney, The Stamford Advocate

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