Student Sleep Health: 5 Tips for Parents to Help Boost Children's Back-to-School Sleep Routine by Dr. Anne Marie Morse
Heading into a new school year, one of the best ways to help set your children up for success is by incorporating the right amount of healthy sleep into their routine. September 14 - 20 is Student Sleep Health Week, which is the perfect opportunity to reset sleep routines for the entire family and set everyone up for a successful year.
When children get sufficient sleep, it has a positive impact on grades, athletic performance and other daily activities. Yet, a new survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) shows that more than half of parents (57 percent) with school-age children say that they have a child/teen who does not get enough sleep on school nights. There are many reasons children and teens aren’t getting as much sleep as they should during the school week – from extracurricular activities and sports to after-school jobs and homework – which is why it’s so important you help guide your children to prioritize sleep.
Here are five tips for starting a healthy sleep routine:
- Make sure they get enough sleep. To promote optimal health, the AASM recommends children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep nine to 12 hours, and teens 13 to 18 years of age should sleep eight to 10 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis.
- Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. The lazy days of summer together with the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted routines for many families. In fact, four out of 10 parents acknowledge that their children’s bedtime and/or wake time consistency were affected by remote learning due to COVID-19, according to the AASM. Students should continue with morning and bedtime routines including getting up and going to bed at regular times so they get enough sleep.
- Set their room up for sleep. Create a quiet, dark and a little bit cool sleep environment for maximum comfort. Make sure they have window coverings dark enough to block out early morning or later evening light.
- Restrict screen time. It’s probably not a huge surprise that 86 percent of parents report that social media or electronics use affects the ability of their children/teens to get enough sleep on school nights, according to the AASM survey. Have kids turn off electronics 30 minutes before bedtime and store them outside of the bedroom overnight.
- Develop bedtime rituals. In place of electronics, consider adding reading, journaling or taking a warm bath or shower as part of a nightly routine.
No matter what the school year will look like, it’s important students get the healthy sleep they need to learn, function and grow so they can excel in their classwork and other daily activities. To learn more, visit SleepEducation.org.
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