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Back to School Sleep Tips
— by Tempur-Pedic on Aug 11, 2021
Quality sleep is essential for achieving goals during the day, and your child’s academic performance is no different. We understand—summer break can reverse the bedtime routine you’ve spent night after night cultivating throughout the school year. Students use their summer break to rest and recharge for the following school year, but also spend time adventuring and having fun. After all, summer is the season for memory-making activities that children will treasure into adulthood. That’s why we believe the process of adjusting to a sleep schedule suitable for the school year starts before school is in session. A head-start can help both parents and children get back into the swing of things.
Importance of a Schedule
Children rely on their parents to set healthy, practical habits—and sleep should be no exception. Both children and adults benefit from consistent sleep schedules because it helps the body know when it’s time to wake up, wind down, and helps prevent fatigue, exhaustion, and daytime drowsiness. But you might be wondering, how much sleep does my child actually need? The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following guidelines^:
- Preschoolers (ages 3-5) need 10-13 hours of sleep
- School-age children (ages 6-13) need 9-11 hours of sleep
- Teenagers (ages 14-17) need 8-10 hours of sleep
Not surprisingly, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found the majority of America’s youth don’t get enough sleep during school nights with nearly 60% of middle schoolers and 70% of high schoolers reporting getting insufficient nightly sleep.^ With weeks leading up to that anticipated first day of school, encourage your child to go to bed and wake up 15 minutes earlier than they normally would during summer months until they have returned to their regular sleeping routine. It may seem like extra work now, but will pay off in the long run.
Find a Bedtime Routine
No one likes the nightly bedtime battle, so try implementing a few easy steps to turn bedtime into a relaxing, bonding time rather than a stress-inducing pajama war. In addition to taking a nightly bath or shower, brushing teeth, and putting on clean PJs, consider swapping electronic devices for snuggling up to read a favorite bedtime story together or singing lullabies for younger children. For older children and teens, encourage them to read a chapter or two of their favorite novel, journal their thoughts, or listen to mellow music before bed.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
When we say sleep hygiene, we don’t mean cleanliness—well, we do—but sleep hygiene is more than just cleanliness. In addition to practicing good personal hygiene, we recommend practicing healthy habits during the day as well as at bedtime. Helping your child find the balance between getting plenty of exercise and not over-extending their schedule will help improve their sleep routine. Exercise helps reduce stress and decrease the risk of obesity in adulthood, so supporting their participation in after-school sports and other extracurricular activities is a good thing. However, be sure not to over schedule them so they have plenty of free time to study, decompress, and recharge. For your adolescents and teens, make sure to limit their napping and avoid caffeine intake. Both napping and caffeine will prevent consistent, deep sleep at night. Plus, keeping their room dark, quiet, and cool will help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. And finally, limit their blue light exposure from cell phones, tablets, televisions, and other electronic devices. Studies show children exposed to blue light before bedtime experience poorer quality sleep and that blue suppresses melatonin, the hormone that tells the body it’s time for sleep.^