Kids' sleep issues don't end in babyhood

From Liz Atwood: I'm just not getting enough sleep and the kids are the reason why. My sons are no longer infants crying in the middle of the night to be fed or changed. They aren’t toddlers running into my room when they have a bad dream. They are a tween and a teen and they just can’t seem to fall asleep until very late at night.

Their habit of staying up until 11 or later is taking its toll on all of us. Last week, the 16-year-old, who has to get up at 6:30 in order to make the bus on time, asked to have coffee at breakfast. He said he needed it to stay awake in school.

When the 11-year-old started middle school this year, he had to go to school an hour earlier. I can hardly get him up and when he does get up, he's almost unbearable.

I’ve tried to get them to sleep earlier by making them turn off the TV at 10 on school nights. But it's a losing battle, especially with the teenager. After I go to bed, he'll stay up texting friends or doing homework or playing games on his computer.

Kids going without adequate sleep can have serious consequences. Their grades suffer, their moods are more volatile and, when they are old enough to drive, they are at increased risk for accidents, according to The National Sleep Foundation, which is trying to get the word out about the dangers drowsy driving.

We've all heard the advice on how to get babies to sleep. We've been told everything from let them cry to let them sleep in our beds. But helping an adolescent get to sleep can be even more difficult than helping a baby. At least the baby doesn't get up after the lights are out to check late game scores.

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