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For Jack to have no bedtime and to have a coffee when appropriate

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Um, I'm almost 16 and shouldn't have a bedtime.

I am also not allowed to drink any caffeinated beverage. But coffee is delicious! Lemme have a sip! Please!

Refer to these Quora answers re this important issue.


If you’re old enough to control a large metal object going at high speeds, you’re old enough to know when you’re tired and how much sleep you need.

Plus, physiologically speaking, teenagers naturally get tired at about 10:30 at the earliest (unless you’re a grandma like me who gets tired by 8). Our circadian rhythms (body clocks) have been shifted so that we naturally get tired later than adults and children and we naturally wake up later as well. So they are literally ignoring the fact that you physically cannot get tired at 9pm. So what would you be expected to do? Lie there staring at the ceiling for an hour and a half? Frankly, it’s really dumb that you’re expected to go to bed earlier than my brother (who’s in elementary school) when you likely have a large workload because of school and extracurriculars (judging by how strict your parents are).

I wish you luck.


Ah yes, the parent / teen battle over sleep! In the right corner we have teen, in the left corner we have parent.

I have been both, and I also happen to work in the sleep field now, so here’s what I know.

In the right corner you have some great arguments. The most important one is this: teens at your age (and normally starting younger), produce melatonin - the ‘i’m feeling sleepy’ chemical - up to 3 hours later in the evening. This means that you won’t actually feel tired until about 2 hours later. This is called ‘sleep phase delay’…get your parents to look it up. It’s real.

This means a pre-teen who was normally tired around 9-10pm, isn’t tired until 11 or midnight. Like my son. And we argued over it every night until we were both exhausted, and at an impasse. If only I knew what I know now, I could have helped him with it.

The big issue with sleep phase delay is all the stuff that’s wrapped around it. Homework. Social life. Stress. Phones. Computers. TV. All of these experienced later at night hinder quality sleep. And then there’s early school start times, the biggest cause of inadequate sleep in teens. All this has prompted the American Academy of Pediatrics to claim that: “ The problem of tied teens is a public health epidemic.”

So, here’s the good argument for the left corner - your parents. (This is presuming they’re not just control freaks and do care about your health.) If a teen doesn’t get what is recommended at 9.25 hours of sleep every night, including the weekends (without sleeping in), it can be detrimental to their health…and grades. You consolidate memory in sleep, which pretty much means, amazingly, that you continue learning in your sleep. (Ok, call that another one for your corner.)

There are lots of tips and tricks out there that will help you deal with being a teen and sleep. That’s how you can start taking control of your sleep. Hopefully your parents will join you in your corner, and be part of it.



As children I was allowed to stay out late and my brother wasn’t (he was the same as you and still stayed out anyway).

The difference was:

I told my parents when I would be home and I ALWAYS came home by that time or called them to let them know where I was.
I did not do it all the time.
I did not complain the following day if I had stuff to do.
Talk to your parents. Do they expect you to be in your room at 9pm or asleep at 9pm?

Build trust with your parents by asking them if you can go out to events. If they say no then … don’t go, if they say yes then ask when you need to be home and make sure you are home at that time. Explain why you want to stay out later.

Ask them to test you and see if they can trust you. Set the punishment if you fail the test to be harder than what they would sent (since you are a person of your word it won’t happen) then if/when you fail to live up to your promise take the punishment without complaining.


I agree that it is a bit much to have a 9pm bedtime for a 16 yr old.

Can you just see it as time to spend on your own to wind down your day? They might have gotten used to having evenings without children around when you were younger and want to keep it that way.

I know that I can’t relax in the evening when my own children, younger than you, are up and about in the house and need to have some time to myself, so we have our older ones (13 and 11) stay in their rooms past a certain time when the younger ones go down but they keep their lights on and read until their lights out time. My plan is that the required lights out time will be a suggestion but up to them by the time they are 16, but I will still want them out of my hair and have some time to myself. If they are staying up all hours and cranky in the morning or getting run down and sick, for example, I will point out that they really need try to get more sleep and tell them lights off by a certain time. I totally remember being 16 though so I can see both perspectives, and wanted to offer mine to you as a parent now.

I would suggest at a neutral time, not during an argument or melt down, try to diplomatically request a change in policy in light of your age and point out that none of your friends have a bedtime. Do that in a respectful way to have the best chance of change, not in a way implying that your parents are doing wrong. They may or may not come around in which case you kind of just have to live with their policy as it is and realize it is only a couple more years until you can be on your own and it won’t be an issue. Good luck!

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