Back to School: Getting Back Into a Sleep Schedule

With many Michigan schools beginning soon, it’s important to help kids return to a normal sleep routine and start the school year off right.

To give your kids the best start, don’t wait until the last minute to adjust their sleeping habits. The key to creating an effective sleep schedule is through gradual transition. Incorporate small changes over the next weeks to make going to sleep less stressful for both you and your kids.

Try adding these tips into your nightly routine:

  • The 15-minutes rule: About two weeks before school starts, try backing up bedtime every night by fifteen minutes. By taking off little bits of time, kids can begin winding down earlier without a curfew shock.
  • Encourage calm activities: Before bedtime, encourage activities that will help settle them down for the evening. Reading is a great way to quiet the house and get kids prepared for schoolwork in the coming weeks. Yoga is also a great activity to promote relaxation.
  • Limit caffeine: Keep sugary and caffeinated beverages out of your kid’s schedule at least 6 hours before bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant and blocks sleep-inducing chemicals, which brings a sleepless night for the whole family.
  • Keep it dark: Beginning at dinnertime, start darkening the house by turning lights off and closing blinds. Remember, Michigan sunsets begin around 8:30 p.m. in August, so it might take a little extra time and effort to keep the sun at bay in time for bed. These late sunsets are exactly why room darkening can help to cue the neurochemicals that make kids feel sleepy even when it may still be bright outside.
  • Pull the plug: Turn off electronics at least a half hour before bedtime. TV screens, iPads and computers all produce unnatural light, which can throw off your body’s natural sleep cycle by inhibiting melatonin production.

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