Sleep Your Way Back to School

As the new school year approaches, ensuring that your kids are on a good sleep schedule becomes crucial for their overall well-being and academic success. But it can be especially hard to bounce back into a school schedule after a summer of late nights and equally late mornings. How can you and your kids get ready for a new schedule by the time the first day of school arrives? Here are some timely tips to help your children smoothly transition to a healthy sleep routine before classes begin:

Gradually Adjust Bedtime

With the school year just around the corner, start gradually shifting bedtime earlier. Over the next week or two, move bedtime by 15 minutes each night until you reach the desired school night bedtime. This preemptive adjustment will help reset their internal clock and make waking up in the morning a breeze.

Consistent Bedtime and Wake Time

A study in the journal Pediatrics suggests that maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends, helps regulate the body's internal clock and improves sleep quality. Encourage your kids to stick to a consistent bedtime and wake time to optimize their sleep-wake cycle. Establish this routine now to make waking up on time a breeze when school starts.

Limit Screen Time Before Bed

With the upcoming school demands, emphasize the importance of avoiding screens (phones, tablets, computers, TVs) at least an hour before bedtime. Blue light from screens can disrupt the production of melatonin, making it harder for them to unwind. As the countdown to school begins, establish a tech-free bedroom zone. Keeping electronic devices out of their sleeping space minimizes distractions and ensures a healthier sleep environment.

Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

In anticipation of the busy school days ahead, introduce a calming bedtime routine. Reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing can signal to your children that it's time to wind down.

Dark and Comfortable Sleep Environment

As the back-to-school excitement builds, ensure their sleep environment is conducive to rest. Face the bed west to avoid getting direct sunlight from the sun rising in the morning.  Install blackout curtains, eliminate sources of noise, and maintain a comfortable room temperature for a tranquil sleep space.

Limit Caffeine Intake

A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health underscores the link between caffeine consumption and sleep problems in adolescents which can affect their readiness for school. As academic challenges approach, advise your kids to steer clear of caffeine-containing beverages after 2pm.

Encourage Physical Activity

In the lead-up to the new school year, emphasize regular physical activity during the day. Engaging in exercise can help improve sleep quality and overall well-being, preparing them for the academic journey ahead. Let your kids play outside as long as possible; this will help ensure their sleepiness at bedtime.

Healthy Eating Habits

Prioritize balanced eating habits in preparation for the school routine. Avoid heavy meals close to bedtime and opt for light, nutritious snacks if needed. This will prevent discomfort and promote better sleep.

Be a Role Model

With the new school year just on the horizon, lead by example. Parental behaviors and routines play a critical role in shaping a child's sleep patterns and overall well-being. Demonstrate that sleep is a valuable and enjoyable part of life by prioritizing your own sleep and speaking positively about it. Never use sleep as a form of punishment. If sleep is associated with negativity, children are more likely to resist it and develop negative associations with bedtime.

Communicate the Importance of Sleep

In these final days before school starts, have an open conversation with your kids about the significance of sleep. Help them grasp how adequate rest positively impacts their health, academic performance, and mood.

Be Patient

As you begin making necessary adjustments to a school routine, exercise patience and understanding. The combination of long summer days, no homework, and fewer early rises, have likely left your kids going to bed later than usual and sleeping in. It may take a little time for your kids to fully adapt to a new sleep schedule. During this transition period, gently guide them towards earlier bedtimes and wake-up times, allowing their bodies to gradually readjust to the school routine. Remember, sudden changes can lead to resistance and potential sleep disruptions, so gradual adjustments with empathy and support will help set a positive tone for the upcoming school year.

A Comfortable Mattress

The significance of a good mattress cannot be overstated when it comes to ensuring quality sleep for children. A comfortable mattress helps facilitate uninterrupted sleep, allowing them to cycle through the various sleep stages crucial for memory consolidation, learning, and emotional regulation. 

When selecting a mattress for your child, consider factors such as firmness, type, materials, and size. Involve your child in the decision-making process, as their comfort preferences may vary. Ultimately, investing in a high-quality mattress tailored to your child's needs can make a substantial difference in their sleep quality, ensuring they wake up ready to embrace each day with energy and enthusiasm.

When you need a child’s mattress, stop by your local Sit ‘n Sleep where you'll discover the perfect mattress type, size, or comfort level to ensure your child feels thoroughly rested and prepared for the school day ahead.