August 05, 2021 4 min read
Summer breaks are an opportunity for families to connect, loosen up, and sleep in. But with the new school year just around the corner, it’s time to start preparing for more structured daily schedules, which also include better sleep habits!
As you know, kids need quality sleep for school performance. Not getting enough of it can not only affect their academic success but also physical health and emotional, cognitive, and social development.
The best way to ensure your kids are not missing out on precious sleep? By practicing good sleep hygiene year-round, claims the National Sleep Foundation. When that’s not possible, however, there are tricks that can help kids establish a more consistent routine discussed in this article.
But first, let’s talk a bit about the importance of sleep for kids.
Sleep is physiologically essential, especially for kids. The purpose of sleep is to help the body recover from activity and to restore immunity, the skeleton, muscles, and the nervous system.
The brain and nervous system are particularly dependant on sleep, especially during early development. We know that the brain develops rapidly during that period of life when we sleep the longest — infancy and early childhood.
Unsurprisingly, studies consistently show that kids who don’t get the sleep they need to develop and grow have poor concentration, poor school performance, and are at a greater risk of obesity, depression, and injuries.
Kids obviously need more sleep than adults. But as kids get older, the less sleep they will need to support their growing bodies and developing brains.
The National Sleep Foundation and other expert bodies offer these “rule-of-thumb” recommendations:
Newborns (0-2 mo): 12 to 18 h
Infants (3-11mo):14 to 15 h
Toddlers (1-3 y): 12 to 14 h
Preschoolers (3-5 y): 11 to 13 h
School-aged children (10-11h):10 to 11 h
Teens (10-17y):8.5 to 9.25 h
Keep in mind that sleep duration is just one component of healthy sleep. Sleep experts say that sleep quality, architecture, consistency, timing, and continuity are just as important.
Now that you know just how much sleep is important, it’s time to start looking into the how-tos of good sleep habits. If your family’s sleep was inconsistent during summer, it’s a good idea to start establishing a sleep routine at least a week before school starts. Here are tips to help you out with that:
It takes time for the body to get used to new routines, and sleep is no exception. Put your kids to bed 15 minutes earlier each night until they start going to bed at an appropriate time. For school-aged children, who need to get up at 6.30 am, they should be in bed usually by 8.00 pm.
Sleep hygiene is all those things we do during the day and before bed that are conducive to good sleep. That may include exercising, spending time outdoors, winding down, turning off the lights, and going to bed early.
Kids are hardwired to look up to their parents, so you’re more likely to get your kids to cooperate if you lead by example. Try to relax before bed, dim the lights, and create an atmosphere in your home that’s more likely to help the kids wind down.
Napping to make up for lost nighttime sleep can be detrimental to sleep quality in the long run. If your child must nap because they missed out on sleep, try to limit their naps to no more than half an hour each day. This may be especially important for teenagers.
Create a routine that will make them look forward to bedtime. Reading bedtime stories, getting new pajamas, or cuddling can help kids associate sleep with positive feelings.
Children are more likely to follow through if they understand the value of doing so, according to an article by Michael Mascolo Ph.D. inPsychology Today. Simply explaining the reasons why sleep is so important could help motivate children to adjust to their new schedule.
And while your focus these days may be on the kids’ schedule, don’t underestimate your need for restorative sleep.
Healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. And that sleep must not be disrupted by things like snoring, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, worry, and other typically adult problems.
Good Morning Snore Solution can help you with one of these problems with our snoring mouthpieces that you can check outhere. The rest is up to you and your healthcare provider to help you get the kind of sleep you need and deserve.
Happy, Successful School Year!
Baweja R, Calhoun S, Baweja R, Singareddy R. Sleep problems in children.Minerva Pediatr. 2013;65(5):457-472.https://www.minervamedica.it/en/journals/minerva-pediatrics/article.php?cod=R15Y2013N05A0457
Foley L, Vyas N. Back to School Sleep Tips. SleepFoundationwebsite. Feb 5, 2021.https://www.sleepfoundation.org/school-and-sleep/back-to-school-sleep-tips
Matricciani L, Blunden S, Rigney G, Williams MT, Olds TS. Children's sleep needs: is there sufficient evidence to recommend optimal sleep for children?.Sleep. 2013;36(4):527-534. Published 2013 Apr 1.doi:10.5665/sleep.2538
Mascolo M. What Really Motivates Kids. Psychology Today. Accessed July 2021.
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