Sleep and Teens

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Dr. Daniel Lewin

Dr. Daniel Lewin

My 17-year-old daughter will not get out of bed in the morning. I try and try to wake her but it is near impossible. I don't want her to be late for school but clearly she is too tired to get out of bed. What should I do?

Total sleep need, even for a 17-year-old, is greater than adults, between 8.5 and 9.5 hours. If she is not sleeping at least 8 hours a night on average during the week, then the first step is to find a way to increase her NIGHT TIME sleep period. If she cannot fall asleep at night then she should, for at least two weeks, cut out television, video games and internet access within two hours of a bedtime to allow her to sleep a total of 8 hours a night. She should also cut out all caffeine after lunch. This is only a start and often more assessment and changes in sleep schedules and sleep habits are required.

My son is a freshman in high school and he wants to join the wrestling team, but they practice early in the morning and I'm concerned that he won't get enough sleep. What do you recommend?

Your concern is important. Sports practices and other extracurricular activities are very important, but participation in them may result in reduced total sleep time. Sleep experts recommend that sleep should be a priority. Make his participation in wrestling contingent upon his grades, and sleep for at least 9 hours a night. It may mean that he'll have to give up another activity. Help him prioritize his activities and weigh his desire for short-term highly rewarding activities, like watching television and playing video games, against his desire to be on the wrestling team.

I have a 16-year-old who comes home every day and collapses on the couch. Is that a problem? Should I let her nap? If so, for how long?

There are individual differences in the need for napping. Some adults and children need to nap. However, the majority of teenagers probably nap in the