Thursday, October 31, 2013

How to Help Your College Student Wake Up for Early Morning Classes

It isn’t news that teenagers like to sleep in late. What is relatively new is neuroscientists’ claim that the tendency of the young to lie in bed until noon is largely due to their hormones and so not really their ‘fault’.

It’s been shown that one of the changes brought about by puberty is a change in the daily rhythm of sleep and wakefulness. Children get sleepy early in the evening and wake early in the morning. As they go through puberty, the time when they are ready for bed gets later in the evening, and so does the time when they are ready to wake up in the morning.

Russell Foster, Professor of Circadian Neuroscience at Oxford University, believes that the role of sleep is undervalued. He's reported as saying: "Sleep is fundamentally important but despite this it's been largely ignored as part of our biology,"

Studies suggest that teens do better with a working day that starts and finishes later than the 9.00-4.00 that’s expected of them today. Indeed, there have been experiments in altering High School timetables to suit teenage metabolisms.

Whether that will help remains to be seen, but in the meantime, parents need to support their teenagers so that they can function as well as possible in conformity to adult expectations of routine and punctuality. The outside world may not be ideal for teenagers, but that doesn’t mean that they are doomed to be exhausted and miserable until they grow up.

There are habits they can develop to help make daily life less of a struggle, especially when they are leaving home to attend college.

1. Switching off at night 
Get them in the habit of turning off TVs, computers and any other electronic devices at night. Using these gadgets can be compulsive, and they need to learn to switch off at 11.00 pm. If they develop that habit at home, it will be easier for them at college. It’s not just the mental stimulation of game playing through the night that’s the problem: the light produced by electronic devices has been shown to interfere with healthy sleep.
2.  Coffee first thing 
Buy your teen a coffee maker. One with an integral timer is an excellent aid to getting up in the morning. Even teenagers will want to rise and shine if a cup of good hot coffee is ready and waiting for them. It’s a good idea to get a robust machine like a Krups, which can last throughout student days and beyond. Krups coffee maker parts can be found on the internet if they need replacing. They are well-made machines and should give good service to your teenager.
3.  Create a pleasant environment
Help to make the student’s room a pleasant space to work, live and sleep. The sleeping area should be uncluttered and as far as possible from distracting activities. A clear environment will help the student to relax and feel calm. Unfortunately, difficulty in keeping a personal space tidy and organized seems, like late rising, to be a common teenage problem.
In the end, all you can do is explain, help and facilitate. Whether the newly independent student ends up being organized and hardworking or chaotic is, in the end, his or her own responsibility. Andrew King is an empty nester. He frequently writes his favorite ideas for staying close with college students on parenting blogs.

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