Staying up late and yawning the next day

Hey Woodski!

I’m having trouble getting to sleep. My day is so busy between school and travel to practices and homework that I just need time for myself. I stay up late when I should be sleeping and then I’m yawning all the next day. What should I do?
Night Owl, age 17 (female, gymnastics)

Dear Night Owl

Ain’t that a pickle? You know you need downtime (correct!). But you find it mostly when you ought to be sleeping (hmmm…). It’s widely accepted that teenagers need 8-10 hours of shut-eye every night. While everyone loses sleep now and then, habitually not getting your zzz’s is… well, a habit. We can swap this with a healthier habit.

 Take inventory… what activities are you doing at night, especially that last hour? Are you on your devices? With friends? Does it feel like a good use of your time? Sometimes we settle for non-fulfilling activities, just to feel in control of our life. Does this sound like you?

To swap for the healthier option, look for pockets of your day can you assign to your downtime. When you’re traveling to and from practice, maybe you can ground yourself with positive self talk instead of social media. Affirmations or simple deep breaths can work also.

While it may feel silly at first, these healthy behaviors help put you in control of your time and your emotions. Try them, and stick to the one that helps the most.

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The advice offered in this column is not intended to replace professional medical advice. Talk to your doctor before making any changes in your diet, exercise or lifestyle choices.
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