Who is ready to get back to school? Not all children are enthusiastic about going to bed and waking up earlier for a full day of learning, compared to a carefree summer of water slides and late night TV binges. To make the adjustment period easier for your young student, try these sleep tips provided by Dr. Robert Rosenberg of Everyday Health:
1. Calculate your child’s sleep needs: If you have a preschooler, it’s lights out early enough for 11-12 hours of sleep, while 5-10 year olds need 10-11 hours and teenagers strive with 9-10 hours.
2. Move up that bedtime: It’s hard to adjust to back to school time after a long summer. To make the process easier, move up your child’s bedtime and wake up time 15 minutes earlier each day.
3. Eliminate caffeine: During the late afternoon, approximately 6 hours before your child’s bedtime, cut off all caffeine, including soda, chocolate and other sugary treats.
4. Eat dinner earlier: Eating too late can cause discomfort at bedtime. Make the adjustment from the later dinner that occurs during the summer break.
5. Create a bedtime routine: Establish a consistent, relaxing routine that for younger children includes bath time, brushing their teeth and reading a bedtime story. For older children, encourage them to read, write or take up meditation to power down.
6. Turn off those blue lights: Electronics are known to slow the production of melatonin, the body’s sleep hormone, and keep us awake longer. Remove TVs, laptops, cell phones and iPads from your child’s bedroom to prevent temptation.
7. Stop summertime naps: Many children take naps over the summer to make up for staying up later hours. However, take a nap longer than an hour can affect your child’s ability to get to sleep at bedtime.
8. Avoid late-night pizza: Avoid spicy foods, which can cause acid reflux and cured meats such as pepperoni, salami and aged cheeses as they contain tyramine, which promotes the production of a neurotransmitter that keeps us awake, norepinephrine.
9. Establish the bedroom environment: Remove distractions and make sure that the room is dark and cool to help the body enter sleep. Ideally, bedroom temperatures at night should be 62-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
10. Stick to rules and be a role model: Children whose parents set bedtime rules as well as lead by example, have a longer sleep duration of better snooze, according to a survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation.
Children who get the proper amount of sleep have been proven to get better grades, learn new skills faster, have a stronger memory recall and are better behaved. The school year has begun and we wish you and your family sweet dreams with plenty high-quality sleep for success!