Share The Health

Better Sleep for The Upcoming School Year

08-11-2015

While it might be hard to believe, most students in Frederick County start school on August 24th. If you’re counting down the days, that’s less than 2 weeks away!

Adjusting back to the school year schedule can be a challenge for students and parents alike. The best way to start the day off right begins the night before, by getting a good night’s sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, now is the time to start working on reestablishing a sleep schedule that is appropriate for the coming school year. However, you don’t have to immediately start sending the kids to bed early and waking them up like the bus is on its way.

Here are some tips to help you start the school year well-rested:

Gradual Adjustment: Every night, set an incrementally earlier bedtime, and every morning, an incrementally earlier wake-up time. Make sure that when school starts, your children wake up with the amount of sleep they need for their age-group.

Click here to view a helpful chart from the National Sleep Foundation about age appropriate sleep duration.

Keep it Consistent: Once you have an appropriate sleep schedule established, try to maintain that schedule on the weekends. Using the weekend to catch up on sleep is not recommended.

Your Diet Matters: Big meals, sodas, or other caffeinated drinks can prevent kids from falling asleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a good rule of thumb is to avoid any caffeine six hours before bedtime, as the caffeine can interrupt your child’s natural sleep patterns, making it difficult to fall asleep.

Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine: As bedtime approaches, it’s a good idea to start winding down. Whether that includes a bath, reading a bedtime story, or simply playing quietly, is up to you and your family, but it’s a great way to start relaxing for the evening as bedtime approaches.

Create a Relaxing Environment: Electronics such as phones, tablets, televisions, and video games are pretty stimulating for kids, and are best kept out of their bedroom. By creating a dark, comfortable, and relaxing environment, your kids are likely to achieve better sleep.

Set a Good Example: Quality sleep benefits everyone, including adults. By following these tips, you’re setting a good example for your family and establishing a healthier sleep schedule and routine for yourself.

Remember, quality sleep is an important element of your overall mental and physical health. If you’d like to learn more about sleep health, and tips for better sleep, visit the National Sleep Foundation website by clicking here.

If you feel that your child struggles with getting enough rest, it might be time to talk to your doctor. Sleep disorders in children have been linked to developmental delays, poor school performance, ADHD, and a variety of other issues. Children with sleep disorders may have symptoms such as snoring, unusual movements during sleep, headaches, irritability, bedwetting, significant nighttime sweating, labored breathing, and hyperactivity. To learn more about Pediatric Sleep Studies at Frederick Memorial Hospital, visit fmh.org/sleep.