Sometimes I have recommended to teenagers who are short on sleep that they take a five-day “sleep spa” treatment. No, that doesn’t mean having their parents book them into an expensive resort! It simply means dedicating five days to going to sleep earlier than usual. Afterward, I ask the teenagers to reflect on whether the earlier sleep made a difference. Usually they report, rather sheepishly, that it did. Also, for some teenagers, I point out how important it is for models, musicians, and other performers to have radiant skin and glowing dispositions, and how important beauty sleep is to maintain their appearance. Of course, that is not a suitable incentive for all teens, but in the battle for sleep, one must pick one’s weapons carefully! One mother reported to me after her daughter’s sleep spa:
Overall Sophia is not feeling as tired. She seems much more willing to go to bed earlier now that you advised her rather than me. She is turning in her computer and phone to be charged outside of her bedroom so she isn’t tempted or interrupted by texts. Most 15-year-old girls want to look better and have great skin!
I asked Sophia to make a list of how extra sleep helped her feel, and she wrote: “After getting the new routine I feel a lot better. I’m in a way better mood and feel more positive and have a ton more energy. I feel more willing to do things and feel more active and happier in general. I perform better in sports and am able to strategize and process things faster. I enjoy music more. I am ready to do more things throughout the day and feel more social because before I wasn’t up to doing much. I wake up earlier in the morning and have more time to do things throughout the day.”