After a much less regulated schedule during a period of online learning in which kids could essentially attend classes in their pajamas and then go back to sleep, being in person means that they have to get up and be ready to go to school on time. This may be more difficult for some due to certain disabilities, side effects of medications, or their natural circadian rhythm.
However, being able to wake up on time is a skill that they need now, for any further education, and also for future careers. So, how can you stop your teen from sleeping in?
Developing Good Sleep Hygiene
One of the best ways to wake up on time is to ensure a good night’s sleep. A good night’s sleep is more likely to happen when your child practices good sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene is a combination of everything you do throughout the day, particularly before bedtime and throughout the night, to promote good sleeping habits. Also known as the opposite of what most teens do.
Many of the crucial elements of preparing for a good night’s sleep include:
- Set a strict bedtime. Contrary to school and other activity scheduling, adolescents need eight to ten hours of sleep per night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) So to get up early, they should go to bed early.
- Enforce the strict bedtime. Bedtime is non-negotiable. Period.
- Avoid napping. Sleeping during the day affects their ability to go to sleep on time at night.
- Avoid caffeine. This includes coffee, soda, and chocolate, particularly after noon.
- Exercise before 2 pm, where possible. Exercise done during the earlier part of the day helps promote good sleep at night.
- Put away all screens for an hour before bedtime. The blue light from screens prohibits the body’s natural production of melatonin, the hormone that helps promote sleeping and waking.
- Remove all screens from their bedroom. Having screens in the room tempts them to use them at bedtime or late at night, impacting their ability to wake up on time.
- Keep a quiet, clean, comfortable bedroom. A good atmosphere promotes good sleep.
- Do something relaxing just before bedtime. Taking a warm shower or bath, meditating, or some other form of relaxation helps the body prepare to sleep.
For more information about getting good sleep, Aaron Huey of Fire Mountain interviewed clinical psychologist Dr. Melissa Milanak about helping to get sleeping patterns back on track on the “Beyond Risk and Back” podcast.
Never Underestimate the Power of a Healthy Diet
Eating healthy affects more than just weight, clear skin, or feeling good overall. A healthy diet can also promote better sleep too.
In addition to avoiding stimulants such as caffeine, particularly later in the day, a person’s overall diet can impact the quality and duration of sleep. In a 2016 study, for example, they found that a high-fat diet was associated with shorter, less productive sleep.
Discuss Concerns With Health Care Providers
Each person has their own circadian rhythm or the 24-hour clock in our bodies. While this rhythm can be affected by changes in lightness or darkness or impacted by schedules, exercise, diet, and more, some kids just struggle to wake up in the morning because their body’s sleep cycle tells them to stay asleep. This can be re-trained, but it can make it more difficult.
Sometimes, specific diagnoses or medications impact a child’s ability to wake up in the morning. For example, if they are suffering from depression, they may sleep during the day and be awake all night.
Or, if they are taking medications that cause drowsiness, this will inhibit their ability to wake up on time. If this is a problem, talk to their healthcare professional, as there may be alternatives.
Create a Specific Morning Schedule
In addition to a specific bedtime routine, creating a schedule for their mornings can help teens realize exactly what needs to be done and how long they need to do it. Preparing the night before, like laying out all of their clothes, including shoes and socks, as well as packing up their backpack, will help reduce stress in the morning. This will also help them to adjust their wake time just a few minutes later.
While it may seem a cruel and unusual punishment, having them wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends, will ensure a consistent sleep schedule. This will help them to wake up on time throughout the week.
Don’t forget to acknowledge their success each day that they do wake up in a timely manner. Positive reinforcement and less stressful mornings can help them see the wisdom in waking up on time and help them develop good habits while they are still young.
How can you stop your teen from sleeping in? Helping them do everything to get to bed on time and get the best sleep possible is perhaps the most important part of the battle. Eating healthy and resolving any health concerns can also work wonders for their quality of sleep and levels of alertness in the morning. Preparing at night and making a specific morning schedule can teach them the value of waking up on time, too. Teaching kids accountability and responsibility is a big part of the curriculum at Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center. Teaching teens how to take care of their bodies, including the importance of a healthy diet, will help them as they return home after treatment. We also support parents by offering coaching, support, and resources to help you be the best parent you can be for your child. Contact our Estes Park, Colorado facility at (303) 443-3343.