Breaking those Summer Sleep Habits
Homework is on the way! Earlier wake up times and bus schedules require our kids to get back on a better sleep routine after sleeping in and staying up late. We have found some quick tips on how to easily transition from the lazy summer days into a routine to sleep better.
How Summer changes our sleeping
Summer naturally changes our internal body clocks, making us want to stay up later and sleep longer in the morning. This is especially true for adolescents and teens! Although we are typically still getting the needed amount of sleep, it can be challenging to get back on an earlier schedule. Here are some of the reasons our schedule shifts for Summer:
- More daylight – Just the fact it is still light outside later at night makes our body want to stay awake.
- Activity – Some of us tend to be more active in the Summer. This can take us longer to wind down at night and fall asleep.
- No set schedule – With no alarm waking them up to get to the bus on time, kids naturally adjust to relaxed hours of sleep and bedtime in the Summer.
How to get back on track for school
So how do we reverse our bad habits? It depends on our own rhythms, but experts have found some helpful hints. Here are some things to start a few days before schedules become more structured:
- Dark is good – Light blocking curtains or shades can help us block out the light and go to sleep. This is especially helpful if you have smaller children who go to bed earlier at night. Experts agree each age group needs a different amount of sleep:
- *10-13 hours for preschoolers and kindergartners (ages 3-5)
- *9-12 hours for grade school children (ages 6 to 12)
- *8-10 hours for middle school and high school (teens)
- Tune out early – Our phone, tablet, television and computer do not help us wind down, they have the opposite effect on our ability to sleep. Shut down all electronics one to two hours before you want to go to sleep.
- Get outside in the morning – Try to get outside for a short time when you first awake to help your body realize it’s time to wake up. Sunlight in the morning helps us shift the chemicals in our bodies that want us to stop sleeping!
- Pick a time to wake up and go to bed – And stick to it! Sleeping in on the weekends can keep us up late at night, especially on Sunday before the school day. Routines and sticking to a schedule helps everyone adjust easier and keep up with sleep.
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