Published on August 07, 2015

How to Get Your Students Back Into the Sleep Routine

Girl fast asleep at her desk while at schoolThe return of the school routine can be made a little easier by easing your students back into a school sleep schedule now.

Back to school means re-setting biological clocks to ensure sufficient sleep each night and a healthier, more productive school year.

“Parents should begin transitioning their children’s sleep routine at least one or two weeks before the first day of school,” said Neurologist Stephen Rasmus, M.D., medical director for the Genesis Sleep Disorders Center. “It’s important for children to have a healthy start to their school day and to arrive at classes feeling awake and ready to learn.”

After all, kids who get enough sleep are more attentive, behave better and are able to concentrate more effectively, he said.

The Method for Good Sleep

The Genesis Sleep Disorders Center offers these tips to get your kids back into good sleep habits:

  1. FACT

    When do I start?

    Parents should begin transitioning their children’s sleep routine at least one or two weeks before the first day of school.

    --Neurologist Stephen Rasmus, M.D.

    Begin the routine now. Begin your child’s school sleep routine at least one to two weeks before the first day of school by introducing a gradual change in their sleep schedule, such as going to bed 15-30 minutes earlier each night. That makes it easier for kids to adjust their sleep patterns for the new school schedule.
  2. Create a bedtime routine. Bedtime routines are important, regardless of a child’s age. It should include at least 15-30 minutes of calm, soothing activities. Before bedtime, encourage quiet time with relaxing activities. Discourage TV, exercise, computer and telephone use, and avoid caffeine found in beverages, chocolate and other products.
  3. Achieve a balanced schedule. Identify and prioritize activities that allow for downtime and sufficient sleep time. Help students avoid an overloaded schedule that can lead to stress and difficulty coping, which can contribute to sleep problems.
  4. Establish a regular bedtime and wake up time. Parents and children should plan a daily schedule that includes age-appropriate sleep requirements. Keep the schedule on weekends, but permit students to sleep in one or two hours on weekend mornings if necessary.
  5. Follow age-appropriate sleep needs. While individual sleep needs can vary, here’s an age breakdown on the amount of sleep needed by children. Remember to add 10-20 minutes to bedtime for falling asleep: Elementary school students need 10-12 hours a night; pre-teens or middle/junior students need 9-11 hours/night; and teens need 8.5-9.5 hours/night.
  6. Be a role model. Be a role model for your school-age children by establishing your own regular sleep schedule and a home environment conducive to healthy sleep habits. Schedule events to help children keep their sleep schedules. The average adult needs 8 hours and 15 minutes of sleep. Good sleep habits and consistent schedules help set a good example.

The Genesis Sleep Disorders Center, with programs in Davenport, DeWitt, the Illini Campus in Silvis, Mercer County Hospital in Aledo and Jackson County Regional Health Center in Maquoketa, performs tests that assist in the diagnosis of excessive daytime sleepiness, insomnia, narcolepsy, apnea, sleepwalking and childhood sleep problems.

To see a board-certified sleep specialist at the Genesis Sleep Clinic, call central scheduling at (563) 421-3200 or toll-free at (866) 829-8108.

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