School may look a bit different these days, but there’s one constant parents will remember from pre-Covid days: the struggle to get your teen to sleep. Along with all the usual stuff, staying up late to see or talk with friends may be an even bigger problem now, as teens catch up on socializing. What’s a parent to do?

In the sleep world, there’s a term for the disparity between the number of hours you sleep during the week compared to the weekend. Social jetlag. This happens when people sleep later on the weekend than during the work or school week, and this leads to a delay in circadian timing.

Despite the overuse of screens and social media, it’s not entirely your teen’s fault. When kids hit puberty, they are biologically programmed to stay up later, experts say. With the added pressures of homework, extracurricular activities and the lure of social media, it can be tough to help a teen get better sleep. And the health impacts of poor sleep on a teenager are wide, varied, and troubling. 

Rest easy, though. There are tried and true techniques that can put your child back on a regular sleep schedule, which will help improve their academic performance and mood. Experts suggest talking to your teen about the biological changes to their sleep cycle and discussing ways you can both work together to solve their sleep deficit. You can also help by keeping a sleep schedule. Get to bed a touch earlier and don’t sleep in on weekends. Working toward a “no screens in the bedroom” sort of policy will help, too.

A little discussion, some discipline, and some good sleep habits will ease your whole crew back into better sleep. If someone you know or love is having trouble, please feel free to reach out to Dr. Bez. We can help.