Developing a quality sleep schedule for children is important, especially before the new school year begins. With less than a month before school is back in session, it is not too early to start implementing new sleep practices to prepare your children for the upcoming school year.
While most parents realize the value of their children getting a good night’s sleep, the National Sleep Foundation’s 2014 annual Sleep in America poll found that many children are not getting the amount they need on school nights.
Sleep guidelines from the National Heart, Blood and Lung institute recommend that school-aged children get at least 10 hours a sleep a night.
The National Sleep Foundation offers the following sleep tips to improve children’s sleep:
- Make sleep a priority in your family’s busy schedule.
- Set appropriate and consistent bedtimes for yourself and your children and stick to those bedtimes.
- Know how your child is using electronics in the bedroom. Create a plan for appropriate use at night and set boundaries about use before and after bedtime.
- Educate yourself and your child on how light from electronic device screens can interfere with sleep.
- Talk to your child about the importance of sleep for health and well-being.
- Remember that you are a role model to your child; set a good example.
- Create a sleep-supportive bedroom and home environment, dimming the lights prior to bedtime and controlling the temperature (in most cases, temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit and below 54 degrees will disrupt sleep).
- Try to encourage activities such as reading or listening to music before bedtime instead of watching TV, playing video games or surfing the web.
- Make sure children’s activities, including homework, can be completed without interfering with bedtimes.
- About two weeks before school starts, help your child return to a school-appropriate sleep schedule. Set an incrementally earlier bedtime each night, and an incrementally earlier wake-up time each morning, all while making sure he or she gets the right amount of sleep for his or her age group.
- Once school starts, talk to your child’s teacher(s) about your child’s alertness during the day. Let your child’s teacher(s) know that you want to be made aware of any reports of your child falling asleep in school.
If you or a loved one has sleep issues, Carroll Hospital Center’s Sleep Disorders Center may be able to help. Please call 410-871-7170 for more information.