Back to School – Back to Good Sleep Dilemma
Parents are aware that their kids’ academic achievement depends on getting a good night’s sleep. Children who get enough sleep are happier and more able to concentrate. A crucial component of learning, memory formation and retention depend on sleep.
But after summer or holiday break, how can parents assist their kids in getting back on a sleep schedule for school? Consistently practising healthy sleeping habits is the key. Children’s scholastic success and general well-being are influenced by their regular sleep schedule, as well as by a comfortable sleeping environment and other excellent sleep hygiene practises.
The Importance of Setting a Sleep Schedule
Parents are the primary source of advice for children regarding good habits. Sleep ought not to be an exception. A consistent sleep pattern aids the body in recognising when it is time to sleep and wake up for both adults and children. A regular sleep pattern aids in avoiding tiredness, fatigue, and daytime drowsiness.
Parents who establish a night-time routine for their kids and teenagers are more likely to ensure that they receive enough sleep. These students probably go to bed sooner than their friends who don’t have bedtimes set by their parents. Additionally, students who have bedtimes that are established by their parents’ report feeling less tired during the day and having an easier time staying awake.
How much sleep does your child need?
The quantity of sleep required varies according to your child’s age, level of activity, and specific requirements. The following recommendations are made by the National Sleep Foundation:
- Children in preschool (ages 3-5) need 10 to 13 hours of sleep.
- Children in school age (ages 6 to 13) need 9 to 11 hours of sleep.
- Teenagers (age 14–17) need 8–10 hours of sleep per night.
According to a Centres for Disease Control (CDC) study, most American kids and teenagers don’t get enough sleep. At least 7 in 10 high school students and nearly 6 in 10 middle school students report not getting enough sleep on school nights. Nearly two thirds of the high school kids questioned slept for fewer than eight hours each night.
Students can get the sleep they need to perform at their best by following sleep routines with parental guidance.
How to get back on a Sleep Schedule for School After Summer or a Holiday Break
During a break from school, it makes sense that students’ sleep patterns would relax. Children take breaks to rest and recharge, and there are frequently fun activities going on! It could be preferable for kids to attempt and maintain their usual sleep cycles during brief vacation breaks, though. After the break, they won’t have to swiftly revert to their school-related sleep schedules.
When it’s feasible, try to assist your kids in maintaining a regular schedule that includes going to bed and waking up at the same times every day. They will be in the habit of getting scheduled sleep this manner, even when school resumes after a break.
So how can parents assist their kids in re-establishing a sleep schedule in preparation for the start of the new school year? Take each day as it comes!
Adjusting a sleep schedule should be done gradually. Have your youngster rise up and fall asleep 15 minutes earlier than they have been during the vacation in the weeks before returning to school. Once your child is sleeping and waking at the appropriate times for school, keep adjusting their bedtimes and wake times in 15-minute increments every few days. They ought to get accustomed to their new sleep routine before the first day of classes.
Remember that some kids find it difficult to adjust to a new sleep routine. After twenty minutes, if your child is still awake, have them leave their room and engage in a peaceful, blue-light-free activity. Help them back to bed when they are tired.
Don’t rush things; take your time. Discussions about the value of sleep and sound sleeping patterns may be helpful for older kids and teenagers.
What is a Good Bedtime Routine?
Children can get a good night’s sleep and get ready for the next day of school by relaxing at the end of the day. An effective bedtime regimen includes unwinding activities like:
- Taking a warm shower or bath
- cleaning dishes and brushing teeth
- embracing a parent
- Singing lullabies
- Reading independently or with a parent
Example of a Bedtime Routine
10-year-old Ellen has to get up at 6:30 in the morning to go to school. She functions best after ten hours of sleep.
- An hour before she goes to bed, at 7:30 p.m., she puts her iPad away.
- She cleans her teeth after a warm shower.
- In the living room, she calmly reads a book.
- She receives a reminder from her parents before going to bed at 8:30 p.m. Her bedroom is quiet, dark, and distraction-free.
- At 6:30 a.m., she awakens feeling rejuvenated and eager to start the day.
Back-to-School Sleep Hygiene Tips
For kids to sleep properly, sleep hygiene is crucial in addition to a regular sleep schedule and bedtime routine. To ensure restful sleep, good sleep hygiene addresses both day routines and nocturnal requirements. Tips for good sleep hygiene for back to school include:
- Regular exercise: Stress is reduced and sleep is promoted by exercise. Keep in mind that childhood inactivity raises the likelihood of adult obesity. Also keep in mind that exercising too soon before bed may impede your youngster from falling asleep.
- Keep your extracurricular activities to a minimum: Even though having a packed schedule of activities may be entertaining or thrilling, free time and downtime are crucial for kids’ growth. Teenagers who participate in fewer extracurricular activities tend to sleep more.
- Put a cap on naps: Adolescent naps are associated with less restful and shorter night-time sleep. If naps keep you from getting enough sleep at night, avoid taking them. Try to limit naps under 30 minutes in length if your child needs to nap in order to function properly the rest of the day.
- Prevent caffeine: soft drinks, coffee, tea, and energy drinks all contain caffeine, a stimulant. Even after bedtime, caffeine might keep your toddler aware and awake. Caffeine is not advised for use in children or teenagers, and use should be moderate.
Bedroom Tips for Quality Sleep
The setting in which a child sleeps affects how well they sleep. Parents can take the following actions to guarantee that their kids have healthy sleeping conditions:
- Keep the space black. Curtains that are too heavy or dark might block off light.
- Ensure that the space is cool. Too warm of a setting may keep your child awake.
- Keep the space calm and eliminate noises. Some kids might want a fan or a white noise machine to make a calming sound so they can sleep undisturbed. When your kids are attempting to get to sleep in the evening, be sure to refrain from noisy activities (such as vacuuming).
- Only sleep in the bed. Encourage your child to complete their schoolwork, read, and other tasks in dedicated areas.
Blue light, Technology and Sleep
Numerous studies indicate that kids who are exposed to blue light before night have worse sleep. Melatonin, a hormone that alerts the body when it is time to sleep, is thought to be suppressed by blue light. Preliminary findings suggest that screen use prolongs the amount of time spent sleeping overall and at bedtime.
Encourage kids to refrain from the following activities an hour before bed to prevent potential sleeping issues:
- laptops and computers
- mobile phones
- portable video game systems
- other blue-light-emitting devices
For some kids, giving up technology before bed could be challenging. Offer other methods of relaxing, including reading or keeping a notebook.
Being an insomniac can be difficult. Sleep disorders are primarily brought on by physical and emotional issues, such as PTSD, despair, and anxiety. Fortunately, there are treatments that work to make individuals go asleep more quickly, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling more rested. It will be easier for you to overcome your sleeping issues if you seek therapy. Counseling will include a variety of therapies, including cognitive-behavioural therapy, which aids in the treatment of psychological issues like anxiety or depression, which are the primary triggers of sleeping difficulties.
Talk to Dr.R.K.Suri, the best clinical psychologist in Dwarka, South-West Delhi.