Getting Back on a Sleep Schedule Before School Starts
By Sara Butler
Parents everywhere are counting down the days until school is back in session. Sure, summer is great but routines tend to fly out the window when children aren’t in school and the schedule that usually suffers the most is sleep. Sleep is really important for everyone, especially children. So, how can you get your kids back on a sleep schedule at the end of summer? Here are a few tips to help you out!
Focus on What Time You Get Up
You’re not going to be able to make a kid fall asleep when you turn out the light, so instead of focusing on the time your child actually falls asleep you should focus more on the time your child wakes up. Most children don’t have a set time to wake up in the summer, so for a couple of weeks before school actually starts you need to start waking them up at the time they would normally get up for school. That way when school does start their internal clocks will be closer to normal. And of course, going to sleep at a decent hour will be easier, too.
Take it Slow
Your child’s internal sleep clock isn’t going to automatically reset once school begins. It takes time to adjust to new routines so you should shift their waking time only about 30 minutes at a time and only do it every couple of days. That will make it easier for them to fall sleep at night and get up earlier and will ease their body into it over time.
How Much Sleep Does Your Child Need?
The guidelines for sleep from the National Sleep Foundation say that children between the ages of 6 and 12 should get between 9 and 11 hours of sleep a night. Teens need anywhere between 8 1/2 and 9 hours each night and adults should get between 7 and 8. This will help everyone to function at their best.
Be Serious About Sleep
Not getting enough sleep over a long period of time is detrimental to everyone’s health, young and old alike. If you don’t get enough sleep you will have issues with cognitive functioning in the short term and then increase your risk of chronic illness, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, over the long term. Sleeping is serious business!
Your chiropractor is actually a great resource for advice about sleep, so if you have questions don’t be afraid to take advantage of his knowledge!