With the new school year just around the corner, it’s time to start preparing your family’s school year sleep schedules. Especially for children, sleep plays a critical role in growth and development, and not getting enough sleep can make it harder for children to focus, control their emotions, and learn and retain new information while they’re at school.
To be sure your family is ready to hit the school year running, start adjusting your sleep patterns now to ease into the new schedule. The Iowa Sleep doctors recommend moving up bedtimes and wake times by 15 minutes each night until you and your children have reached your desired sleep schedules. That way, when the first day of school comes around, waking up an hour earlier than your summer schedule won’t feel as early – and better yet, you’ll all feel alert and prepared for the day ahead.
As you know, healthy sleep habits help make falling asleep, and sleeping well, easier. These tried-and-true tips can help your family stay on track, as a consistent sleep schedule is the key to getting enough sleep every night.
- Turn off electronics an hour before bed. Electronic devices, like smartphones, tablets and TVs, emit blue light that stimulates the brain. Eliminating this light close to bedtime will help your body produce melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy.
- Establish a bedtime routine. An hour before bedtime, get in the habit of winding down and preparing for bed. For children, this can include changing into pajamas, brushing their teeth and having story time with a parent or reading to themselves.
- Maintain a calming bedtime environment. A dark room, comfortable bedding and cool temperatures help create a good sleeping environment. Make sure children’s bedrooms are free of distractions such as video games, TVs or noisy toys.
- Stick to the schedule. Even on the weekends, it’s important to stick to your set sleep schedule. Doing so will help reduce the chances of feeling groggy or tired in the morning when Monday rolls around again.
If you’re not sure how far to move up bedtime or wake times, remember, the National Sleep Foundation recommends children ages 6-13 years old get nine to 11 hours and teens ages 14-17 sleep between eight to 10 hours each night to feel and perform at their best. Decide what time you or your children need to wake up with enough time to get ready for the day and count back the hours from there.
If you’re always tired or regularly feeling sleep deprived, the doctors at Iowa Sleep can help. Contact us today to learn more, and we’ll help you find your way to a better night’s sleep.