If your child is heading back to school in a couple weeks, then it’s important to understand the significance of getting a good night’s sleep and transition into more consistent bed time habits now that summer is sadly almost over. This is because studies have shown that sleep is not only critical for memory- leading to better grades- but that it has a big impact on one’s overall health. A good night’s sleep can help with grades, sports performance and alertness, which is crucial if they are driving to school or have to walk across busy streets. Going over the following tips with your child will help lead to a better night’s sleep.
1. Sunlight is a natural alarm clock, so if your child doesn’t need to get up at sunrise, try using blackout curtains or shades to keep the rays out. An extra tip for waking up less abruptly than a traditional alarm clock is to use a wake up light that gradually increases its brightness, simulating sunrise.
2. Although a nice long nap after a tiring school day sounds relaxing, it will disturb the body’s natural sleep cycle and make it harder to fall asleep later on. A short 15 minute nap will give a boost of energy without keeping your child awake at night.
3. Lastly, going to sleep at the same time every day helps set the circadian rhythm. With that in mind, it’s important to have a consistent bed time. Winding down about 30 minutes before bed also helps relax the mind and prepare it for sleep. Avoid high energy activities or using electronics that stimulate the mind. On average, school-age children between the ages of five and twelve need about ten hours of sleep, while teenagers need nine.