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Why Your Parents Should Let You Sleep

5. "Sleeping can help me not get sick."

You can't be in good overall health when you keep getting too little sleep. When you don't get enough sleep, your immune system gets weak, making it easier for you to catch colds and other illnesses. Too little sleep can also lead to unusually aggressive behavior, and a greater urge to eat unhealthy foods or use addictive substances like drugs or alcohol.

6. "Go to bed earlier? It's not that simple."

Even after you've tried all of these reasons, your parents may just tell you, "Go to bed earlier." But that can be easier said than done. You shouldn't go to bed unless you're sleepy, or you'll be tossing and turning trying to sleep. The best way to fall asleep at an expected time, even if it is earlier than you'd like, is to develop a sleeping pattern. So you'll need to train yourself. The good news is that gives you a reason to get some downtime away from homework, chores, friends, and your family.

Find a relaxing activity to do in the hour leading up to the time you need to get to sleep and make relaxing before bed a habit. Consider reading, listening to music, or soaking in the tub. Be aware that watching TV, surfing the Internet, gaming, and texting don't count as relaxing because they don't let your mind shut down.

If you're hungry before you start your bedtime ritual, have a snack, not a full meal. Make it light but satisfying -- like a few whole-grain crackers and low-fat cheese. And it probably goes without saying: For a better night's sleep, lay off the caffeine in the afternoon and evening.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on February 10, 2014