For kids, summer usually means staying up later, and getting up later too.
But that doesn’t work during the school year. Now that kids are
back in school, it's a great time to get them back into school sleep routines.
“Children need much more sleep than adults because it is essential
to the development of both their bodies and brains,” said Angie
Ostrowski, MD, of Bozeman Health Pediatrics Clinic. Studies have found
that children who sleep longer perform better in class.
The bonus benefit? Those kids also are more likely to maintain a healthy weight.
“Getting back to school schedules should start a few weeks ahead
of time,” said Dr. Ostrowski. “Having a predictable routine
is fundamental for every family.” Parents can make it a little less
painful by moving bedtime back by a half-hour every few days (or as needed)
until children are getting to sleep at their routine time several days
ahead of the first day of school.
Dr. Ostrowski has more tips to help get your kids into school night routines:
not planning activities for late in the day, serving dinner at the same
time every night so that their internal clocks are primed for sleep, avoiding
sugary drinks or snacks at least two hours before bedtime, dimming lights
and closing curtains an hour before bed, and sticking with the bedtime schedule.
Another important factor to making bedtime routines work is turning off
the electronics–TV, computer, tablet, laptop, phone–at least
an hour before lights out. Many research studies have shown that these
electronics emit a type of blue light that can trick the brain into thinking
it’s daytime, thus interfering with a child’s ability to fall asleep.