vide a wealth of health benefits, plus schools that have made the change report across-the-board learning improvement. For details on how you can help support this very important effort, see Chapter 13.

Set a Good Example

You know that old expression “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”? As you work with your teen to increase the amount of sleep she gets and to make improvements in all sleep-related parts of your teen’s life, it’s extremely important that you model good sleep habits yourself. Your teen might seem to pay absolutely no attention to you, and to care even less about what you’re doing, but, believe me, most teens watch carefully what their parents do—sometimes to jump on them, of course, but sometimes to learn, and mimic, the way things should be done.

I bet your teen is no exception. So here are some pointers for being the best influence you can be on your teen’s effort to get more and better sleep. And there’s a bonus here: If you follow them, not only will you be a supportive, caring parent, but you’ll be helping yourself get a better night’s sleep too.

Watch Your Night-Owl Behavior

If you tend to stay up late most nights, watching TV, working, or just catching up on the things you didn’t get done during the day, your teen may think that it’s not that important for her to get to sleep by 11:00. Adults do need less sleep than adolescents, but we still should aim on getting eight hours (at the very least seven hours) and getting to sleep around 11:00 ourselves. Try giving yourself an earlier curfew, and think about turning the tables and asking your teen to help you out. When I say good-night to Elyssa, she says, “Good-night, Mom,” in a way that means “You, too.”

Watch Your Own TV Watching

I’ve talked a lot already about how bad an influence I think TV is on teens’ ability to fall asleep. Well, it’s not good for adults either. Many adults have a TV in their bedroom and can get caught up watching emotion-provoking shows before sleep or turn on the news for a

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement