As Back-to-School time is packed with shopping for school supplies and prepping class schedules, one of the most important preparations may go overlooked: re-establishing a sleep routine.
Sealy, one of America’s oldest mattress brands, surveyed over 1,000 parents nationwide to learn more about back-to-school, back-to-sleep routines relating to sleep quality, schedules and routines. The results showcased a variety of factors that affect their child’s sleep as well as the key challenges parents fact when trying to instill a routine.
With 68% of parents noting that adjusting to a back-to-school sleep schedule as the biggest challenge, Sealy has teamed up with the UNCSchool of Medicine’s Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Science Department to provide tips to help families transition from summertime to a cohesive family sleep schedule.
5 Back-to-School Tips For Transiting The Family’s Sleep Schedule From Summer to Fall:
1. Night Owls No More: No Late Bedtimes
- “Set your child’s bedtime and stick to all week,” says Dr. Mary Ellen Wells, Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Science at UNC Chapel Hill. The recommended number of hours of sleep differs for each age group, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, school age (5-10 years) children should get 10-11 hours of sleep per night while teens (11-17 years) should plan on 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep each night.
2. Shift Bedtime To Accommodate A Schedule For School
- Starting a week or two before school starts, determine the number of hours your child’s bedtime needs to shift and gradually advance the bedtime and wake time to the appropriate time (by no more than 30 minutes per day).
3. Turn Off Electronics Two To Three Hours Before Bedtime
- Any type of electronic that emits blue light or revs up brain activity counteracts the body’s natural transition to sleep. “The sleep environment should be restful – meaning dark, quiet, comfortable and not distracting. Creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and associating your child’s bed with sleep can also help, which means keeping ‘sleep stealers’ out of the bedroom, such as computers, smart phones, TV, etc.,” Dr. Wells said.
4. Invest In A Comfortable Mattress
- Thirteen percent of parents say the quality of the mattress has the biggest impact on quality sleep. Younger parents,millennials, aged 18-29 are the most likely to say mattress quality impacts sleep quality (20%).To help ensure a comfortable night’s sleep, invest in a mattress that is engineered to fully support the back and align the body. “A good mattress can the difference of a transformative sleep and one leaving your child tossing and turning at night,” said Kevin Leatherwood, Senior Director of Global Product Development at Sealy. “Investing in a quality mattress for your child can be one of the most important items in transitioning your child back to school.”
5. Soak Up Sunshine After You Wake Up
- There are external cues called zeitgebers that help synchronize our sleep/wake rhythm. The sun is by far the most powerfulzeitgeber, which can be used to help us orient to our desired routine. “If possible, have your child get outside for some sunshine in the morning soon after waking,” Dr. Wells says. “15 minutes will do the trick.”