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Back-to-School Health Questions


Teenager sleeping

Q. My teen needs to be up at 6 a.m. but says she can't hit the sack before 11 p.m. How do I coax her to bed earlier?

A. Nearly 70% of high school students don't get the shut-eye they need, but your daughter doesn't have to be one of them. Help her understand the importance of sleep by sharing these compelling scientific truths: Getting enough zzz's could lead to higher grades, improved mood and better health. Then get her to revamp her sleep routine with these tips from Helene Emsellem, M.D., director of the Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and author of Snooze...or Lose! 10 "No-War" Ways to Improve Your Teen's Sleep Habits.

  • Put a ban on doing homework in bed.
  • Charge her cell at night in a central location, such as the kitchen, to keep her from texting or talking to friends in bed.
  • An hour before bedtime, make sure she shuts down all electronics and starts dimming overhead lights.
  • If she can't sleep, suggest she listen to music or an audiobook for 15 to 30 minutes with the lights off.

Feeling guilty about your own bedtime habits? Set a good example by making sleep a priority in your life and your kids will follow suit.