Preparing your child for the first week back to school takes more preparation than filling a backpack with pencils and paper. It means getting their sleep schedule adjusted to getting up earlier.
For most children the time to start the transition to the new schedule is one to two weeks before school starts. Begin by having your child go to bed one hour earlier than his or her current bedtime and get up one hour earlier for at least a couple of days. Then, move up the bedtime and wake time earlier again every couple days until the child is getting up at the new “school” schedule time.
Helpful suggestions for getting to sleep earlier
- no electronics one hour before bedtime
- absolutely no texting or talking on the phone in bed at night
- avoid caffeine
- aerobic exercise should be completed at least an hour or two before bedtime
- reading before bedtime is great
- a light bedtime snack is OK
- straighten up the bedroom a little bit, wash the sheets and pillow case and make the bedroom feel comfy and safe
- black-out shades can darken the room (it’s hard to fall asleep with sunlight pouring into the window)
- keep a comfortable room temperature
- keep a regular bedtime and wake time
- do not let your child sleep in too much on weekends or else they will not be able to fall asleep on a Sunday night before school on Monday morning.
Having a routine when getting up reinforces good sleep habits. Children who eat breakfast perform better on achievement tests and have better concentration.
“Being a positive role model for your child helps set a lifetime of healthy habits,” says Troy Payne, MD, FAASM, medical director of the St. Cloud Hospital Sleep Center.
People who do not get enough sleep at night have an increased risk of weight gain, diabetes, poor concentration, moodiness, irritability and poor attention. Certain symptoms and conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can be greatly worsened by insufficient sleep. The average 5-12 year old needs 9-12 hours of sleep each night. The average teenager needs 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Studies show the average teen in the United States is not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.
St. Cloud Hospital Sleep Center reminds you a good balance of exercise, nutritious foods and sleep is needed for good health. If you have questions about you or your loved one’s sleep habits, talk to your doctor, call 320-251-0726 or visit www.centracare.com. May you sleep well tonight!