Parents; Get ready to breathe a sigh of relief. School is back in session next week but sleep school starts now! It is important to begin the transition to your child’s school schedule in the last week of holidays, especially in relation to sleep.
Experts have advised that sleep is essential to a child’s performance and happiness at school. One of which is the President of the Sleep Health Foundation, Dr David Hillman. He says “Research has shown that students who don’t get enough sleep have difficulty understanding lessons, and struggle to complete assignments, class tests and exams… If students are tired they are also more likely to experience negative moods, become irritable and less able to tolerate stress. In addition, poor sleep has been linked to weight gain and depression.”
To slip easily from holiday to school mode, try these tips out:
If your child has broken out of their usual sleep routine, use the week in the lead up to school to slowly ease back into their normal routine. Begin by moving bed time up in 15-minute increments each day and rising 15 minutes earlier each day to match school sleep times.
Let the sunshine in! Exposure to sunlight first thing in the morning supresses the body’s production of Melatonin, the sleepy hormone, and regulates your child’s body clock.
Try to wake and go to bed at the same time every day, including weekends. If your child suddenly moves their sleep routine by a few hours, forward or back, their body will feel and act jet-lagged. For some teens this is happening at the beginning of each school week.
Establish a bedtime routine. This will let your child’s body know to begin preparing for rest. This can include a bedtime story for the younger ones, a warm bath or even a chat to debrief on the days events.
Minimise (or eliminate) screen time in the hour before bed. The blue light from phone screens, TVs and laptops have all been shown to supress melatonin, making it harder for your body to fall to sleep.
Sleep Psychologist of Victoria University, Professor Dorothy Bruck said “Getting students back into early morning starts for school can be difficult. For some, moving from a holiday routine to a school routine is like travelling across a three-hour time zone.”
Professor Dorothy Bruck goes on to say that children are only getting about seven hours sleep each night. Experts recommend eight to ten hours for teens and ten to eleven hours for school aged children. Recharge your child’s body the right way, to keep them going all day!