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With the start of the school year right around the corner, it may be time to implement some changes in your household so the adjustment won’t be so hard once classes are in session. Children aged seven to 12 need 10 to 11 hours of sleep, while older kids need eight to nine hours.
Taking a few minor actions can ensure that your kids (and your sanity!) stay intact. Here are some helpful tips:
About two weeks prior to the start of school, begin to adjust your child or children’s bedtime, moving it forward five to 15 minutes each day. This will help their circadian rhythm adjust to their new schedule. Don’t wait until the night before school starts! The sudden change could make it difficult for them to fall and stay asleep.
Limit Caffeine & Sugar
Begin to limit caffeine intake a week before your children are due back to school. Caffeine is a stimulant and not ideal for children on a frequent basis. It can make it tough for them to achieve quality sleep. Another diet fix: Skip ice cream and cool summer treats and opt for fruit instead. Low-fiber, high-fat, and high-sugar diets were found to be associated with sleep arousal.
Make their bedroom a sleep utopia
It’s important that your kids associate their bed with sleep and not other types of activities. If they often play in their room during the day, get them a beanbag or desk to sit in as they read or play video games. This will help to ensure the bed is identified strictly as for sleeping.
Cultivate a bedtime routine
If your children don’t already have a set bedtime routine (or didn’t have one this summer), now is the time to set one, especially if they are younger. Focus on calming activities like reading their favorite book or taking a relaxing bubble bath to help them to wind down for bedtime. Repeating the same process every night, will eventually begin to signal to their brain and body that it’s time to sleep, helping them to fall asleep on time.
Remove technology from the bedroom
In order to get back on a regular sleep schedule, it’s important to remove electronics from the bedroom, as they can lead to a poor night’s rest. Laptops, tablets, gaming systems and televisions are notorious sleep interruptions. As most kids now have mobile phones, the noise of text message alerts and feel of vibrations can awaken anyone, but the blue light that many devices emit promotes wakefulness. Make it a rule that all devices need to be turned off one hour before bed.