My daughter is only 10 and I'm already freaking out about two recent studies that have basically confirmed my fears surrounding the horrors of teen sleep-deprivation. The first study found that teen girls who feel pressured to be skinny have trouble sleeping. The second found that overtired teens tend to crave carbs, which can lead to weight gain, which results in more get-skinny stress, which equals even less sleep! Argh! Must the female cycle of self-loathing and exhaustion really begin so early in life?
Anyway, what worries me is that already, my daughter is convinced she needs no sleep (my fact-based arguments to the contrary, which consist of me Googling "how much sleep 10-year-old kid need" and showing her the results, have not persuaded her otherwise). By the time she's a teenager, I'm sure she'll have moved on to that invincibility-of-youth phase, at which point my pro-sleep campaign will fail completely. And how are you supposed to make a teenager go to sleep, exactly -- tie her to the bed and put a blindfold on her? Hard enough putting a toddler down for the night.
So I'm guessing, as with so many other lessons teenagers refuse to learn just by listening to the wise counsel of a trusted adult source, my daughter will have to find out how important sleep is the hard way. I will have to endure the frustration of preaching slumber's many virtues on deaf ears and wait until she falls asleep studying for finals and does a face-plant in the giant bowl of ice cream she was scarfing down for energy. I can only hope and pray that she stays away from the lethal high-carb snack my exhausted friends and I "invented" when we were in high school: Pretzel rods dipped in marshmallow fluff.
Can you convince your teen to go to bed early?
Image via D. Sharon Pruitt/Flickr