Dennis Rosen M.D.

Sleeping Angels

Sleeping Around The Clock

Another way of getting your teen’s sleep back on track for school

Posted Aug 27, 2013

If your teen is like most, he or she enjoys staying up late, and sleeping in even later during the summer. While that can be lots of fun and without serious consequence during vacation, it can really do a number on efforts to reset the internal clock so that it matches the external clock (the one that school runs on).

When the two clocks are only off by an hour or two, the easiest way to go is probably to gradually shift the wake-up time forward by fifteen minutes each day, with a commensurate advance in bedtime, is probably.

But what if your kid is only falling asleep around 4 AM, and waking up close to 1 pm? At a rate of fifteen minutes per day, it would take him an entire month to readjust!

The solution: go the other way.

It is much easier to stay awake for a few more hours than usual than it is to ‘will’ yourself to sleep earlier than your body is used to or ready for. So instead of gradually moving everything up, try moving it back—by three hours each day.

For example, if your teen is currently sleeping between 4-1, and needs to be up at 6 in order to get to school on time, you could do the following:

Day 1: have him stay up until 7 am, and wake up (with an alarm) at 4 pm

Day 2: stay up until 10 am, wake up at 7 pm

Day 3: stay up until 1 pm, wake up at 10 pm

Day 4: stay up until 4 pm, wake up at 1 am

Day 5: stay up until 7 pm, wake up at 4 am

Day 6: stay up until 9 pm, wake up at 6 am—and stay there

Within a week, his sleep schedule will be back on track. Now the only problem will be keeping it there... 

Good Luck!


Dennis Rosen, M.D.

Help your child get a great night's sleep with: 

Successful Sleep Strategies for Kids (a Harvard Medical School Guide)