Getting back into the routine of the school year can be tough. Those late nights and lazy days give way to early mornings and long hours at school. A critical part of your child’s back-to-school success? Their sleep schedule. Here are some back-to-school sleep tips for getting your child rested up before heading into the classroom:
- Adjust their sleep schedule gradually. Nothing is more jarring than abruptly switching a 10AM wakeup time to 6AM. A few weeks before school starts, gradually move their bedtime and awake times earlier. This slow transition will get them perfectly rested for their first day.
- Stick to the schedule. Once classes are in session, pick a time and stick to it. Varied sleep times — even on the weekends — can provide your child with a lower quality of sleep and make it tougher to wake up early on school days.
- Unwind before bed. Help your child establish a bedtime routine. Reading a book or taking a warm bath can reduce stress and put your child to sleep quicker.
- Create a sleep-friendly space. Make sure your child has dark curtains or blinds, a comfortable bed, and that the temperature in their room isn’t too hot or too cold. It can help to completely remove phones, laptops and tablets from the bedroom, so your child isn’t tempted to get online when they should be asleep. Try to cut out all screens about two hours before bed. The blue light interferes with melatonin production, which helps us get drowsy when it’s time for bed. If that’s not possible, one can order “blue blocking” glasses online and don them a few hours before bed to counteract the effects.
- Watch out for food and drink. Big, heavy meals close to bedtime can make it more difficult for your child to doze off. So too can caffeine, which messes with your child’s sleep patterns. A good rule of thumb? Avoid caffeine within six hours of bedtime.
Waking your child up in the morning doesn’t have to be a struggle. Setting up good sleep habits can have them fully focused and ready to go for those early morning classes.