Dear Ilana and Jess: I have twin 16-year-olds and both of them are constantly exhausted. They have such loaded schedules: sports and theater on top of honors class. They’re good kids and usually they’re up late just doing homework. How do I help them get better rest? - Heather
Dear Heather: One of the (many) great things about sleep: it has a lot to do with habits. Let’s review some practical strategies your teens can put into play to get better rest.
If your kids are waiting until they need to be asleep to get into bed, then they’re definitely not getting enough sleep. Plus, the urgency to fall asleep right away can create anxiety, which can lead to insomnia, and the vicious cycle begins. So, for starters, make sure your teens are calling it a night before they need to be asleep.
Put the phone down. We’re sure this isn’t news to you or them, but the blue light on their phones tells their brains: “It’s daytime, stay awake.” If they haven’t already, the kids should set their phones to enter nighttime mode in the evenings.
Start slow. Have your teens adjust their sleep schedule in increments by getting into bed 15 minutes earlier than they usually do. They can move the time back 15 minutes every week, until they reach their target bedtime. Setting realistic goals and striving for gradual change helps in the short and long-term.
Let your teens know that just because it’s common to feel fatigued, doesn’t mean it’s fine. Unless they’re experiencing chronic and/or medically-based sleep issues (and if they are, we urge you and them to speak with their doctor) their bodies will sleep when they tell them to. They can set good routines that lead to good sleep hygiene: They don’t have to stay tired.
Say This: “I see how exhausted you are and I want to help. Tonight, I want you to get into bed 15 minutes earlier than your normally would. We’ll start slow to make this easy and realistic.”
Not That: “You need to get more sleep!”
Say This, Not That is based on the work of Cognition Builders: a global, educational company headed by Ilana Kukoff (Founder & CEO) and Jessica Yuppa Huddy (Chief Learning Officer). Everywhere from New York City to California to Shanghai to Zurich, the Cognition Builders team is called upon by A-list entertainers, politicians, CEOs, and CFOs to resolve the conflicts that upend everyday life. When their work is done, the families they serve are stronger than ever. With their new book, Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter Kukoff and Yuppa Huddy have selected the most common conversational mistakes parents make, and fixed them. For more information, please visit: https://cognitionbuilders.com. To purchase Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter visit: http://publishing.andrewsmcmeel.com/books/detail?sku=9781449488055.
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