Developing healthy sleep habits for the school year
Students and parents are preparing for the new school year arriving just around the corner. Beyond the busyness of getting school supplies in order and figuring out transportation plans, perhaps there is another back-to-school item needing attention: getting your child back on a regular sleep schedule.
It can present as a challenge to transition form the flexibility of the sweet summer days to the essential stability of earlier mornings and stricter bedtimes. It is important for everyone, but especially hardworking students, to have a sleep schedule established so they are well-rested and attentive for each day of their studies.
Having a healthy sleep schedule can contribute to many qualities in your child, including better academic performance, emotional stability, straighter behavior, even health factors such as a healthy weight, immunity, and heart health. Take note of the tips below in the next few weeks as you gradually adjust your child’s wake-up time and bedtime:
Wake them up a bit early every few days to allow their internal clocks to adjust to the change. Begin by shifting their wake time earlier by 30 minutes each or every other morning. Serve them a healthy breakfast to look forward to as they arrive out of bed; it is also important they get a good morning meal time always, but especially once they return to school.
Hold a family meeting. Help your child understand the plan and purpose behind the new sleeping routine. Remember to use positive language around sleep. Teach them that their sleep is important so that they can be healthier, stronger, and taller, and remind them that they process what they learned in their sleep, so they will wake up smarter!
Ease up on electronics. Too much technology can interfere with the body’s sleep rhythm and make it harder to obtain rest. Enforce no light from tablets, phones, computers, and any other electronic devices in bed, and try to limit their use of technology at least two hours before their bedtime.
Begin limiting their schedules. Summer can be a busy time with more plans with friends and family, sports, and lessons. Too many extracurricular activities can leave children feeling exhausted and stressed. Ensure their schedules work around their sleep schedule, and not vice versa. Maintain communication with coaches and teachers to prevent potential overload.
Provide the right bedtime conditions. As the evening winds down, begin quieting their surroundings earlier than you would in the summertime. No caffeine, limited electronics, and no exercise will allow for time for their minds to wind down and settle for bedtime. The sun sets late in the early weeks of the school year, so ensure their room is dark enough for sleep.
Establishing a healthy sleep schedule for your child before the school year can seem like a daunting task, but it’s worthwhile for an abundance of reasons. There couldn’t be a better time than now to help your child develop healthy sleeping habits to prep them for the success at school and in life!