Getting kids on a back to school sleep schedule
Back to school means back to a regular sleeping schedule that entails an earlier wake up time. Although school has began, it’s never too late to break bad habits.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Sleep is critical for students, not only for academic success, but for good health in general. Studies show just 25 minutes of less sleep per night can lead to lower grades and concentration problems, according to Sleep.org.
Start with a soothing, age-appropriate nighttime routine. Calming activities like reading a book or taking a bath can help your child wind down before bedtime.
Create a calm sleep environment. According to Ashely Leat, lead registered sleep technician at RCRH, “You want to make sure the kids have a dark, quiet environment with a comfortable bed, in a comfortable room temperature. Studies show that a room temperature between 68 and 72 degrees is what is comfortable for most kids. Using a sound machine or playing classical music can help them wind down or even the sound of a fan in the room.”
Limit caffeine intake and large meals before bedtime. Try not eating 2-3 hours before going to bed.
Leat says, “You should cut out caffeine six hours before bedtime and then also avoid overeating any foods that are spicy … oversize portions can cause restless sleep, as well as discomfort from indigestion.”
Take the tech out of the bedroom, not only does it distract from sleep, but the blue light emission may promote wakefulness.
“So kids should turn off their electronic devices, keep them out of the room and also stop watching TV an hour before bedtime.”
Stay consistent with sleep patterns. Bedtime and wake time should remain the same throughout the week. If your child is staying up and sleeping in on the weekends, it could throw off their body’s internal clock.
“Go to bed the same night every time and get up at the same time every morning,” said Leat.
Snoring and restlessness during sleep may make kids irritable during the day and could mean more serious problems like sleep apnea or issues with enlarged tonsils and adenoids. It’s recommended to talk to your doctor about any concerns.
Another tip that may help is having your child eat nutritious foods and get plenty of exercise during the day.
Leat says the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends these ranges for how much sleep children should get during a 24-hour period:
Ages 4-12 month: 12-16 hours (including naps)
Ages 1-2 years: 11-14 hours (including naps)
Ages 3-5 years: 10-13 hours (including naps)
Ages 6-12 years 9-12 hours
Ages 13-18: 8-10 hours