RM Column June 13 – Early to bed
One thing I don’t like about the summer months now that the Young Wan is a big grown-up 16-year-old is the later bedtimes. For the last number of years it has been increasingly hard to get her to bed. On school nights I might say to her at about 10pm ‘right time for bed’. She’ll disappear into the bathroom before emerging about an hour later have flaffed about the place.
This is an ongoing battle. Because whether teenagers like it or not, they need more sleep probably than they did when they were just a few years younger, however, I would imagine in most cases they don’t get it.
After all they are big grown-ups and they want to stay up watching telly, well thats how it is in my house.
Now that it is the summer holidays I am fighting an even bigger battle.
Herself will sit in the living room with her eyes popping out of her head in tiredness and she still won’t concede to bed. Once she starts to lay her head back or down that is the moment when I tell her ‘RIGHT bed NOW’.
I don’t want her to have a summer of late night and even later mornings, where half of her day is slept away.
To make matters worse herself and her gang of mates seem to text each other throughout the night which cannot be healthy.
During one of her long excursions to the bathroom/diversions from bed she can be heard click, click, clicking text messages on her mobile phone, at whatever time.
I know there comes a time at night when I do not want phonecalls and if I am brutally honest I can view phonecalls at home at night quite intrusive.
Course there are exceptions to the rules such as close friends, who, in most circumstances, can call me at whatever time. Partly because if they call at that time, something is probably up.
Thats one good thing about the internet, we are in touch all the time so it is a different scenario from years ago when either letters and/or phonecalls were our primary methods of communication.
Young people however don’t follow the ‘not before 8am or after 10pm’ communication rule.
Just recently the Young Wan was complaining that she didn’t sleep well before admitting that she was texting on and off all night. Are they mad?
I don’t want to be confiscating her phone at night, but it looks like that might be the only way forward.
New research presented at a recent conference on sleep found that young people feel they need to be at their phones around the clock. I wouldn’t say this is just confined to young people, I know many grown-ups who feel the same. However we are old and ugly enough to take care of ourselves and make decisions that we have to live by.
Our young people are still being guided by us and we have to look after their best interests even if they do not agree.
The research also found that teenagers who used their phones more were prone to disrupted sleep, restlessness, stress and fatigue than other young people.
So maybe it is time to lock up those phones over night, at least it would give them a good night’s sleep, of course they may bend your ear, but aren’t we used to that.