This is the time of year when millions of American college students are settling in for summer break. Some of them have been home for a couple of weeks, while others are on their way. With them come tales of adventure, loads of dirty laundry and – quite possibly – some very poor sleep habits.
Research shows the body responds best to regular sleep patterns. College students are tempted, and sometimes forced by their schedules, to adapt to irregular sleep patterns. When those students return home, their poor habits can sometimes rub off on the rest of the family.
It may be tough to “put the genie back in the bottle” and impose family sleep patterns on college-age students who are essentially adults despite living at home for a few months, but don’t let them interfere with sleep times for younger siblings.
Here are some tips to help families adjust to having their favorite college student back around the house:
• Understand that your college student may sleep a LOT for the first few weeks at home. This may be due to the need to eliminate a sleep debt. It’s completely normal, but if it continues beyond a week or two, a trip to the family doctor may be needed.
• Set reasonable and age-appropriate schedules for ALL family members, and then try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning, even on weekends.
• If Junior brought home bedding or pillows that he or she has been attached to for years, this might be the perfect time to look at updating to new, cleaner, and more appropriate sleep products.