Ask the Horizons Team: I have a teenage son who just cannot get up on time in the mornings.
I have a teenage son who just cannot get up on time in the mornings. He sets his alarm, but continually hits snooze and just can’t seem to get himself up and going. This has been an issue for him since he was a child. Mornings just don’t seem to be his thing! We’ve tried many things to help over the years, but I wondered if you have any new ideas.
Tom in Ada, Michigan
This can be a very difficult issue, especially in the teen years when kids need more sleep and often have to get up for school very early. One thing you may want to try is a slow wake alarm clock. These types of clocks mimic the sunrise and slowly bring a person out of a sleep state and into a wakeful state. You set the clock for 30 minutes before you need to wake up, and over that half-hour the light on the clock will slowly get brighter and the sound will gradually increase (most have options for nature sounds, music, alarms, etc.). It is a more natural way to wake up gradually, as if you were sleeping outside and waking with the sunrise. I know many teens and adults who have been able to wake up easily for the first time in their lives using this type of clock. Someone recently told me that there are some apps available for smart phones that can do this as well, so you may want to look into that. You can find various clock options on Amazon at a variety of price points.
Obviously, good sleep hygiene (going to bed at a decent hour, not drinking caffeine in the evenings, etc.) is necessary as well. However, it sounds like you’ve tried those things. See if a slow wake alarm is the ticket for your son and let me know how it turns out!
Here’s to easier mornings!