10 Tips for Better Back-to-School Sleep

Across the United States, students in grades K through 12 are getting ready to go back to school.  In fact, a few school systems have already started.  One of the tougher things as a parent is getting your child off the “sleep as long as you want” routine that happens in the summer, and onto the “you’d better get up or you’ll miss the bus” routine in the fall.   This isn’t a routine change just for the kids, either, as parents often have to get up earlier to get the children ready for school.  Here are some tips to get you all set for the back-to-school shock…

  1. Start before the first day of school to ease everyone back into the routine of getting up early. Get up a little earlier each morning, until you reach the time when you’ll get up for school.
  2. Once you’ve reached a reasonable sleep and wake time, stick to it, even on weekends.
  3. Listen to your body! When it’s tired, go to bed!
  4. Kids and adults should stop playing video games, watching TV, or using other mobile devices well before bedtime.
  5. For the older kids who have their own cell phones, a good rule is that the phone does not stay in the room with them after bedtime.  This will eliminate the temptation to send out one more text to a friend.  This is a good rule for adults too!
  6. Get the chores and homework done well before bedtime.  Don’t leave anything until the last minute, as your child’s mind and yours need time to settle before it’s time for “lights out”.
  7. Start a tradition of reading a bedtime story.  This isn’t just for the youngest children, as even the older kids can enjoy a family book like Harry Potter.  If your children think they’re too old to be read to, have them read a calm book to themselves for 20 minutes or so before turning out the light.  It’s an excellent way to wind down.
  8. Create a bedtime routine, both for you and your children.  Start about an hour before it’s time for lights out, getting things done like packing books and laying out clothes for the next day, taking showers or baths, brushing teeth, and putting on pajamas.  If you do the same thing each night before bed, the routine will start becoming a cue for everyone that it’s almost time for sleep.
  9. Keep bedrooms cool and comfortable.  The best temperature for sleep is between 60 and 68-degrees.
  10. Do a bedding check for everyone, replacing old worn-out pillows and other sleep equipment.