Teenagers turn sleep into a sport.
Just about every Saturday Morning teenagers eat lunch for breakfast because of their sleeping super powers.
Is it OK to let your teenager sleep all day every weekend? With summer just around the corner, should you allow your teenager to keep the same hours as a vampire?
Here is the skinny on sleep and teenagers:
1. GREEN LIGHT- Give them the green light to sleep when you notice that they are in a growth spurt. Especially early in the teenage years, sleep is an essential part of the developmental process. Your teenager will at times wake up complaining of pain in their joints. These “growing pains” occur because they were literally growing in their sleep. Their bones and joints were stretching, and the pain is real. The National Sleep Foundation says teenagers need at least 8 1/2 hours of sleep each night in order to maintain healthy physical and emotional development. Yet only 15% of them actually get that much sleep. This is a problem because sleep is food to the brain. So if you notice their pants getting a little shorter, and you have to keep buying new shoes all the time, you should probably let them sleep.
2. YELLOW LIGHT- If your teenager sleeps in way too much you might want to proceed with caution. One of the early signs of teen depression is using sleep as an escape from the world around them. If you notice an extra ordinary amount of sleep going on in your house it might be time to watch your teenager closely. Are they withdrawn, overly sensitive to criticism, complain constantly of aches and pains, or seem overly irritable? If so, it is not time to over react but consider taking action. It’s a tough call because you can compare a book on normal teen development and signs of depression and see many behavioral similarities. But if your parental “spidey sense” is going off telling you to have a doctor check it out, you should trust your instincts.
3. RED LIGHT- When your teenager begins living the same hours as a 3rd Shift Employee than it is time to pull out the red light. Left to their own devices many teenagers will choose the “up all night” and “sleep all day” lifestyle especially in the summer months when they do not have school to contend with. As a parent you should engage them on this sleeping pattern because it is an unhealthy pattern of sleep for their body, it is unhealthy for their mind, it causes them to withdraw relationally from the rest of the family during the day, and let’s be honest, nothing very good happens at 2 a.m. You can’t force your teenager to sleep, but you can charge their cell phone by your bed, take the TV out of their room, and make sure that if they choose to stay up all night, they still have to wake up in the morning. It won’t be a pleasant battle, but it will be worth it to fight for the health of your teenager.
Let’s help each other get some perspective on sleep with teenagers. Leave a comment below and tell us what time your teenager goes to bed typically and when they wake up.