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Back to school: Readjusting to ‘normal’ sleep schedule

Back to school

This is the season in which children are meant to go back to school.  As kids return back to school after the long holiday, they are expected to feel a certain sense of stress, discomfort and emotional turmoil of re-engaging with the educational system. Apparently, this would affect their sleep schedule as they have to struggle with readjusting to a normal sleep schedule: early to bed, early to rise schedule.”  Interestingly, parents also feel back-to-school stress and anxiety.

A survey by One Poll, reported in the New York Post, found that 60% of parents are so stressed about the back-to-school season they lose sleep. Of the 2,000 parents of kids ages 5-18, 57% said it is the most stressful time of the year for them. Doctors say adequate sleep is important especially for little ones who are spending a good portion of their time in the classroom. There are lots of risk factors associated with inadequate sleep for your children they include:

Lack of concentration in school

Poor academic performance

Unhealthy weight gain

Increase risk of health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure

Poor memory retention etc.

This is why we have come up with healthy tips on how to help you and your kids readjust to a normal sleep schedule. They are:

Go back to the bedtime schedule

So, holidays are for fun, right? Most parents let their kids enjoy their holidays without ensuring adherence to bedtime routines. Hence, sleep and wake time goes unregulated. Viola! The holiday is over, so you would have to go ensure a stricter bedtime schedule.

Be flexible

As part of the process of readjusting to a healthy sleep schedule, we recommend you should be flexible. Introduce change gradually, and let it happen naturally at its own pace. Don’t stress if they are having a hard time readjusting, it is normal and expected. Also, do not expect a 100% adjustment to a normal sleep schedule especially in the first week of resumption. Expectedly, your kids’ sleep patterns should improve within a month.  Again, avoid quick fixes such as introducing sleeping pills at night, they cause more harm than good.

Use the light in the morning

Due to the normal holiday lie-ins, your kid may find it difficult to readjust to normal wake-up time when they are back to school. You can help them readjust to the normal wake up time, expose them to the morning sun to soak up some rays as soon as they wake up. This will help reset their body internal clock.

Dim the light at night

Holidays are usually fun packed with late-night games, movies, video games and the likes that expose your child to blue light.  Exposure to blue light at night can trick your child into staying up later as usual even after the holidays. So, to help your kid fall asleep faster and wake up earlier, dim the light close to bedtime. Restrict access to television, phones and other sources of blue light. You may have to change the brighter bulb in their room to a dimmer one until they get used to sleeping on time.

Regulate meal time

This will help the body internal clock re-adjust to normal sleep. This is because when you eat affects your body‘s digestive process hence sleep. Meals close to bedtime may cause gastric reactions that may disrupt sleep. Similarly, do not give your child heavy meals close to bedtime.

Praise compliance

Children need more sleep than adults as it is crucial to their brain functioning and overall development.  You must ensure that you get the recommended amount of sleep each night even if it means rewarding compliance. Children thrive on rewards and praise, pitch the early to bed, early to rise quote and praise their effort towards achieving this. This will help their motivation with fulfilling their bedtime schedule and also help you fulfil your role.

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