Simple back to school tips for sleep.
Help your child get the A’s they deserve by giving them the Zzz’s
The summer holidays have ended and the return to school is back upon us.
New school shoes- Check!
School dinners ordered- Check!
You get the gist; the preparation is on, and we are hyper focussed on ensuring our children are ready to head back into the routine of school with ease.
However, is it likely that your child is going to be ready for a bedtime and that all so important 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep? Less likely.
Prepping your child for the return to school does go beyond the physical things that they need, buying them new clothes that fit (gosh don’t children grow so fast!)
Getting the right amount of sleep for them is vital for your children to achieve the very best that they can.
Summer holidays are a breeding ground to knock out sleep cycles, with days out and a more relaxed approach that many of us take (including myself)
So, sleep feels like it’s gone wrong, where do you start?
I would say the most common thing that I see after the summer (and Christmas holidays) is that children struggle to fall asleep. Leading to a much later bedtime. Otherwise know in the sleep world as ‘delayed sleep onset’.
If your child has had later bedtimes over the summer the chances are that their body has gotten used to this, this in turn means that the circadian rhythm (body clock) will be telling your child that they are not ready for sleep at the earlier bedtime that is put back in place for the return to school.
Most importantly what can you do?
First things first, start with the later bedtime. Work with the time your child is naturally falling to sleep.
Gradually pull it back every couple of days by around 10-15 minutes.
This is a much more natural process that the body can work with.
By consistently putting your child to bed at the earlier time, (that would be considered a more appropriate for a school day) it can have the exact opposite effect and lead to a further delay in the body clock and a much later bedtime.
It can also be stressful and frustrating for everyone involved when your child can’t fall to sleep!
Ok so number 2 is going to maybe feel a little uncomfortable, but it is super important.
Wake up times!
Keeping the same wake up time every single morning (yep that includes the weekend) really helps to stabilise the body clock, not only that but it also helps with going to sleep and building that oh so important sleep pressure making falling to sleep easier.
Anchor in a time and stick with it.
I promise this will make things easier in the long term.
If you can also couple this up with some daylight exposure of around 10 minutes you are onto a winner.
Number 3 is taking sleep back to basics
So, you have a bedtime that is going to work for you and have anchored in a wake-up time…. What next?
Bedtime routine, this is a topic that is discussed repeatedly. In my opinion make it work for you.
Don’t panic too much and start it around an hour before the new bedtime.
Darken or dim the environment, sound simple but it works, do some calming activities arts and crafts, jigsaws, Lego, reading etc and avoid electronics.
There you have it, a simplistic guide to back-to-school tips.
Yes, in the first few weeks your child may be a little cranky, but it won’t last, and this should solve and even bigger sleep delay from coming.
Over the years I have witnessed many families where children are not falling to sleep until the early hours which has almost always been a long period of time in the making.
Almost always the child is in bed for hours on end and got into a real pickle trying to sleep when they are just not physiologically ready to. We need to work with the body always.
For me it is always science first and I want to share as much of that with you!
Hope you have enjoyed this and can implement the strategies to help get back on track; sleep enables us to be the best we can be, and we all want that for our children and ourselves, don’t we?