Each year as a new school year begins, routines are set into place. Parents, students and teachers shift from a more laid back routine to a routine that is more regimented and includes things such as uniform and lunch preparation, homework, and extra-curricular activities. Hopefully, a strict bedtime is included in your back to school routine.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that children aged six to 13 need 9-11 hours of sleep. At the same time, there is an increasing demand on their time from school (e.g., homework), sports and other extracurricular and social activities. In addition, school-aged children become more interested in TV, computers, the media and Internet as well as caffeine products – all of which can lead to difficulty falling asleep, nightmares and disruptions to their sleep. In particular, watching TV close to bedtime has been associated with bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep, anxiety around sleep and sleeping fewer hours.
Sleep problems and disorders are prevalent at this age. Poor or inadequate sleep can lead to mood swings, behavioral problems such as ADHD and cognitive problems that impact on their ability to learn in school.
Follow these tips from the National Sleep Foundation to get your school year off to a great start!
Sleep Tips for School-aged Children
- Teach school-aged children about healthy sleep habits.
- Continue to emphasize need for regular and consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine.
- Make child's bedroom conducive to sleep – dark, cool and quiet.
- Keep TV and computers out of the bedroom.
- Avoid caffeine.