by Dawn Lyons
Why does my teenager sleep so much? Why is my teenager so lazy and tired?
If you find yourself almost having to hire a crane to pull your teenager out of bed before noon, you’re frustrated with constantly finding them dozing on the sofa, or don’t understand why you find them in their room not doing homework, not communicating with friends, but in fact doing nothing, you need to read this post.
It’s easy to get frustrated by the amount of time your teenager seems to ‘do nothing.’ If a nagging refrain involving the words “get up” or “do something” resonates in your home, you need to know why, at least sometimes, it’s ok – even a good thing – for your teen to do nothing.
1. How long should teens sleep? According to the Canadian Paediatric Society, teenagers need between 9 and 10 hours of sleep a night to help them stay alert and not feel sleepy at some point during the progression of the day. Sleeping in on the weekend, like many of us enjoy, can also be enjoyed by your teen, however it is recommended that the regular amount of sleep only be exceeded by 2 – 4 hours. Sleep is important not only for the body to recuperate and restore energy, but also for proper brain function.
Many teens nap in the afternoons, either on weekends or after they arrive home from school. While napping can be valuable (for people in any age bracket), the amount of time for teenagers should be kept to half an hour or less, so that a nap does not create interference with sleep at night. Also, keep in mind that too little sleep can be just as detrimental as too much sleep, and that a combination of reduced energy with an appropriate or extended amount of sleep could be the symptom of a deeper concern.
2. But they need to contribute to the family unit. This and other objections related to why parents think their teen needs to wake up and stay awake are valid, but sensitivity to your teenager’s continuing physical development, hormones and exhaustion that may be caused by a variety of factors such as exams, tests and assignments, involvement in sports or other extra-curricular activities and the weight of other responsibilities should not be overlooked. Where possible, find a way to align the contribution you need them to make with the other demands of their schedule and the fact that you know they will either sleep in and/or nap, particularly during weekends.
Also, give the contribution a value that your teenager will understand and appreciate. That doesn’t necessarily mean monetary value – though that does help – but make sure that they know their contribution will be appreciated so they don’t feel forced into undertaking tasks that are solely for the benefit of Mom and Dad.
3. They need ‘me’ time, too. You know how you feel like you’re so busy with all of your responsibilities that you covet any amount of time you can spend by yourself to once again find the real you and recharge? The same is true for teenagers. Time alone is important for them to think things through and figure things out as they experience the relationships, responsibilities, and stressors that come with the teenage years and figure out who they are and what they want their future to look like. Just as you cherish time at the gym or spa, a getaway with your spouse, or an hour of solitude with your favourite book, your teen similarly craves and appreciates some alone time.
4. Remember when…? What were you doing when you were your teen’s age? If you think back, you’ll probably remember sleeping late, napping when you needed to, and extended periods of time chatting or spending time with friends, or being alone reading, listening to music or whatever other non-labour-intensive pastime struck your fancy.
Sometimes, it may be necessary to adjust your teenager’s schedule to reduce the amount of activities and responsibilities that can cause undue stress, limit their amount of sleep and not allow them to have any down time. Consider this information the next time you’re tempted to call your, or any other teen, lazy due to their tendency to be in bed or “laze around” all day. It is likely that it is their bodies and brains telling them they need rest, and an honest need to spend time as their own individual person that has them zonked in the family room or ‘doing nothing’ in their bedroom.
A professional writer and editor, Dawn Lyons created ‘Write’ Steps 4 Teens by combining her passion for writing with her desire to help teenagers resolve stress-inducing concerns and consciously create their own success stories. Find out more by visiting her online at linesbylyons.com.