Sleep! My kid was telling me all along, but of course I though I know better!

So this is interesting. My teenage daughter always complains, when I try to get her to go to bed around 9:30-10pm, that she just can not fall asleep. She would always tell me, that even getting to bed early, she still only falls asleep around 11pm. I had very hard time believing this, as she has to get up for school at 6am. So by 9-10pm in my opinion she should be in bed getting her much needed rest.

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I just came across this article at National Sleep Foundation website – Sleep Drive and Your Body Clock. It makes some interesting comments about a shift in adolescence circadian rhythm.

This one was an immediate reminder of conversations I have with my daughter, trying to convince her to meditate, or do some breathing technic to fall asleep faster. And while they do help her to come down and relax, she still rarely falls asleep before 11pm.

Changes to this circadian rhythm occur during adolescence, when most teens experience a sleep phase delay. This shift in teens’ circadian rhythm causes them to naturally feel alert later at night, making it difficult for them to fall asleep before 11:00 pm. Since most teens wake up early for school and other commitments, this sleep phase delay can make it difficult to get the sleep teens need — an average of 9 1/4 hours, but at least 8 1/2 hours. This sleep deprivation can influence the circadian rhythm; for teens the strongest circadian “dips” tend to occur between 3:00-7:00 am and 2:00-5:00 pm, but the morning dip (3:00-7:00 am) can be even longer if teens haven’t had enough sleep, and can even last until 9:00 or 10:00 am.

And.

In teenagers, research has shown that melatonin levels in the blood naturally rise later at night than in most children and adults. Since teens may have difficulty going to bed early to get enough sleep, it can help to keep the lights dim at night as bedtime approaches. It can also help to get into bright light as soon as possible in the morning.

Now we will have to work on getting rid of electronics by 10pm, dimming light and maybe just reading a book. And at 6am – bright lights! Let the sunshine in! Wake up to a new beautiful day!

Oh….she is gonna hate me for this!

She still will not get enough sleep on the school days 🙁 I guess we will just have to try to compensate on the weekends.

To your health,

Elena

 

 

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Showing 8 comments
  • cooleballacolla
    Reply

    good post but can I make a suggestion re weekend sleep. My understanding is going to bed early is far more useful than sleeping on in the morning as it just further distorts the sleep pattern. Now … that would make you even more popular with your daughter! Good luck.

    • Elena
      Reply

      Yes, you are absolutely right! I realize that but the kid needs a break sometime 🙂 I think we all have gone through that as kids, sleeping in, staying up. Weekends were a blessing! And she rarely even gets to chill on the weekend morning – work at the stable, Vball practice or a tournament – her morning time on the weekend is precious – I can not take that away 🙁

  • suzjones
    Reply

    My Tween is a night owl and has been for years. If we send her to bed early she lays awake for hours. On weekends she will sit up to nearly midnight. I’ve just given up and allow her to do this.

    • Elena
      Reply

      Hi Suzjones, you know sometimes I think we just need to give our kids a break. To trust that we gave them the best values we could, and that they are in fact capable and can manage. Hey, I can only speak from my own experience, but one day when I was pestering my teen about her homework, she actually told me, “mom, have I ever not taken care of it? Even if I do it at school during a free block, I get it done!” and so I always remind myself of this comment – as long as she gets things done, I need to trust that she can, and give her some credit! So you have not given up, you just gave her the opportunity to control her sleep/rest needs 🙂

  • rkutchjm
    Reply

    Very interesting Elena. Never knew that about adolescents. Thank you for the information. Hope you guys are all doing well.
    Rob

    • Elena
      Reply

      Wow Rob! Blogging is a serious business, it only took me 4 months to reply 😉
      And yes, I was so surprised by this information, I actually felt bad for never trusting my kid and just assuming she is being stubborn. Love finding this type of useful interesting information, and for the same reason I love your blog!

  • aliciasunday
    Reply

    Now I can stop worrying about my teen not being able to get to sleep when I pack her off to bed at 9.00pm. Although I do let her lie in at the weekends because she is up so early during the week.

    • Elena
      Reply

      When I read that research that is exactly how I felt Aliciasunday. Just a relieve to know that it is natural and that they are not just being stubborn 🙂
      And like you, I absolutely let her sleep in as much as possible on the weekends. I think our kids are under so much pressure as it is, it’s nice to just let them chill, take a break, and stay in their room just doing whatever…

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