This post was sponsored by American Academy of Sleep Medicine. All views and text are mine.
School is back and after a summer of late nights and laid-back mornings, now our kids have to adjust to the earlier bedtimes and wake-up calls. Transitioning back into the new school year routine can get challenging for many children and families. But with some advance planning, the switch from summer to Fall doesn’t have to hurt as much.
Here are a few helpful tips to ensure a smoother, easier sleep transition for your child:
Set new sleep habits but do it in small increments. Ease the transition back to early mornings by implementing a bedtime. Ensure that bedtimes and wake-up times for young children are already set about a few weeks before the first day of school. Gradually move this time back in 15-minute increments until you reach the appropriate times for your child’s school schedule. Setting it back slowly will make early school hours easier to handle. If your child is reluctant to go to bed, you can always entice them with new bedding, like a cool new duvet cover or perhaps a front sleeper pillow so they can get excited about their new bedtime routine.
Have a “wind down” time before bedtime. To develop a calm, relaxing bedtime routine and a restful sleep each night, find time for the kids to wind down at least 30 minutes before bed. This means ending all rough and tumble play, dimming the lights, avoiding all sugary sweets and snacks and turning off all electronics.
Be aware of how much sleep your child needs. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep is essential for optimal health in children and adolescents. So it’s important to be aware of how much your child actually needs. It’s a known fact that sleeping the number of recommended hours on a regular basis is associated with better health outcomes including: improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health.
Fortunately, the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project has made it easier for us to identify the appropriate bedtime for children, teens and adults with their new online Bedtime Calculator. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Sleep Research Society (SRS) have all partnered with this project and developed the calculator as part of the “Make Time 2 Sleep” campaign to help families adopt routines that fit each individual’s unique lifestyle and sleep needs.
The online Bedtime Calculator allows schoolchildren, teens and parents of young children to enter an age and wake time to identify an appropriate bedtime based on the sleep duration recommendations of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine:
- Infants 4 months to 12 months old: 12 to 16 hours (including naps)
- Children 1 to 2 years old: 11 to 14 hours (including naps)
- Children 3 to 5 years old: 10 to 13 hours (including naps)
- Children 6 to 12 years old: nine to 12 hours per night.
- Teenagers 13 to 18 years old: eight to 10 hours per night
Children, teens and adults all need sufficient sleep, so it’s great to know that we adults can also use the Bedtime Calculator to help us get the recommended seven or more hours of nightly sleep.
For more information on the importance of healthy sleeping and other related articles, go to www.sleepeducation.org