The CDC says that teenagers ages 13-18 should sleep 8-10 hours every night.
Their bodies (and brains) need it.
So why don’t they go to sleep?!
Sleep defiance is a constant worry for parents of teens with ADHD because we see the effect of lack of sleep when they are moody and unfocused during the day… when they feel discouraged and uncooperative.
I was talking to my oldest son the other day, and he said, “I like to stay up because then I own my time – and 9 hours of the day, other people own my time- it’s called Revenge bedtime procrastination.”
? I can’t argue. He’s right.
Isn’t that why parents of toddlers stay up late? They don’t own their time during the day, so they take it back during the night…
The only problem is that it backfires during the day. ?
How Does Poor Sleep Affect ADHD
It affects serotonin levels – the body’s natural happy pill.
It affects cortisol levels – the body’s stress hormone.
And it causes a variety of other health and mental health problems.
Good sleep resets your brain so you can start the next day over with a clean slate. When you don’t get that reset, everything compounds and builds up and (look out!) explosions happen.
So how can we help them get more sleep without addressing the aspect of time ownership?
You can’t. ?
Sleep Tips for ADHD
With my own boys (and in my coaching sessions), I focus so much on helping them own their time because teenagers need to start practicing autonomy just as much as they need good sleep. It’s a push and pull.
If they have zero control of what happens during the day, they will take back control in another area because they are craving adolescent independence. It’s natural.
Here are some practical ways that you can help your teen get better sleep by taking back ownership during the day:
- Sit down together to overhaul their schedule. Let them take the lead and tell you what is stressing them out on a daily basis. It could be that there are too many activities and you need to cut back on some of the optional ones.
- Let them be active when they need to be active. If you are a “take control” parent, you might feel like you’re always telling them to calm down, sit down, do their homework at the table, etc. Give them some slack in the routine. Maybe they need to change up how and when they do homework or finish their chores. Let them decide. Could they get in a quick pick-up game right after school and then start chores? Do they need to jump out some stress on the trampoline before homework? (Check out my tips for the benefits of trampoline for ADHD here.)
- Try rewarding them for getting sleep. I know, I know… You feel a little hesitant about that one. It sounds like a bribe. But this is all about time ownership, right? Get them involved in planning the reward system for hitting 5 nights of perfect bedtime attendance. They can reward themselves with a privilege of their choice. It can’t be all about doing it for you. They have to learn to do it for themselves. Check out this blog post where I talk about planning sleep as another aspect of time management.
ADHD Coaches Near Me
But if you’re getting so desperate to solve your teen’s sleep problems that you’re losing sleep yourself, doing late night searches for an “adhd coaches near me”, I can help with that. There’s no shame in providing your teen with another adult to complain to. If you don’t feel equipped to work out their schedule, that’s why I’m here.
In weekly coaching sessions, I help them own their time and responsibilities so they can make healthy choices that align with their goals. I’m an accountability partner who helps eliminate the pushback between teens and parents so they can have more peace and collaboration in the home.
In my Teen Rockstars program, I give your teen all they need to advocate for themselves, be resilient, increase their self-confidence and self-esteem, and stay on task to live a successful life with ADHD. If you’re ready for your teen to establish healthy routines and take ownership of their responsibilities during the day so they can sleep at night, I’m just a click away.
Hit the Connect tab above or click here to contact me. Let’s talk about what’s going on with your adhd teenagers.