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Back to School - Back to Sleep

January 07, 2014

Back to School - Back to Sleep

Most of our children use the school holidays to sleep in - teenagers especially seem to think that during the holiday the day begins at noon! But with school just around the corner, the disjointed and varied sleeping patterns of children can have negative side effects.

A good sleep cycle often depends on a steady sleep routine, especially for younger children. If a child has an erratic sleep schedule it can lead them to have difficulty falling asleep at night or waking up in time for school. Even if they do get to school on time, a poor sleep schedule can lead them to being tired and unfocused at school or even falling asleep in class. Long term sleep deficiencies or chronic sleep deprivation can cause children to have difficulty focusing and paying attention, which can be confused with attention deficit disorder. (If you haven’t read it yet, read our blog about why bed bedtime routines are bad for children here:

In order to ensure that children are ready for school, it is essential that they begin to readjust their sleep cycles back to a school ready state. This means that they need to have set sleep times and stick to them. Obviously this is ‘easier’ with smaller children - teenagers always think that a ‘bed time’ is something alien and to be avoided at all times!

In order to get the best sleep schedule for your children:

  • Encourage your children to have quiet time before bed - read or take a bath

  • Limit tv and video games before bed - ideally they should be another room

  • Turn off cell phones at bed time - messages can wait till the morning

  • Avoid caffeine or sugar rich drinks - rather have a glass of warm milk

Another trick is to make the bedroom more sleep friendly by making it more relaxing and comforting to your child. Ensure that the amount of light suits your child’s sleeping habits and that the temperature is also suitable.

Remember, it is not only children that need to have a steady sleep schedule, adults also need to be focused and ready at work. If you have teenagers, they might respect sleep schedules better if they see that their parents do too.

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