I’m a nationally published sleep expert, journalist, and the mom of three young kids. I’ve been helping tired families sleep since 2007 (more about me here). Subscribe to The Well Rested Family for fresh news and tips on keeping your bunch happy and healthy. Thanks for stopping by!


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Entries in bedtime for teens (1)


Ask Malia: Setting a Bedtime for Teens

Most of your answers are about babies and toddlers, but I have two teenagers, 14 and 16, and I’d love them to go to bed (and wake up!) earlier. Any tips for better teen bedtimes?


Teens might be too old for bedtime stories and lullabies, but they don’t outgrow the need for shut-eye. In fact, they actually need more sleep (around 9.25 hours a night) than they did as pre-teens.

If you’re teens are night owls, don’t blame them (or yourself), blame biology: teens experience what sleep doctors call a “phase delay” that pushes them to stay up later at night and sleep later in the morning. Makes one wonder if 7:20 a.m. is really the best time for the first high school bell of the day, but I digress.

To encourage teens to get the sleep they need, don’t simply order them to bed. Teenagers hate that—and research shows that rules are more likely to stick if children help to set them.

  • Start by sitting down and asking your child how much sleep she feels that she needs to function well during the day. Once you arrive at a figure, look her daily schedule and start whittling away or rearranging activities to make more room for much-needed shut-eye.
  • Try a little reverse psychology: tell you child he’s free to set his own bedtime, but you require him to be up by a certain hour during the day on weekdays  (to keep biorhythms in sync, weekend wake times should be no more than an hour later than weekdays). Teens who wake earlier in the morning will naturally feel sleepier at an appropriate time at night.
  • Instead of setting a bedtime for teens, set a bedtime for their media. Enforce a media curfew and power down all devices about an hour before you’d like teens to be asleep. Keep phones on a charging station outside the bedroom at night. Without the glow of a screen to keep them awake, teens can read or enjoy another low-tech activity—but they just might be so bored, they’ll doze off.

My article "Tired Teenagers: Why Teens Don't Sleep Enough, and How to Help" in Calgary's Child magazine goes into the biological reasons behind teens' night-owl tendancies, and gives more tips on helping teens get much-needed rest.

I’m a nationally published sleep expert, health journalist, and mom. My articles about sleep, health, and parenting appear regularly in over 80 national and regional magazines and on television. Can I help you? Subscribe to The Well Rested Family to have sleep news, tips, and tactics delivered to your inbox or feed reader by clicking here.

Need more sleep? My e-book Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep So You Can Sleep Too is chock-full of mom-tested solutions to help babies and toddlers start sleeping well, tonight!