Tips to Reset Sleep Routines Prior to the School Year

Children sleeping

Summer activities and lack of routine may have changed your child's bed and wakeup times. Here are ways to reset as the new school year approaches to prevent sleep loss and its impact on mental and physical health, according to Carol Ash, DO, a sleep expert with RWJBarnabas Health and Chief Medical Officer at RWJUH Rahway.

  • Start shifting routines now. Create a relaxing routine one hour prior to bedtime; it takes an hour for the brain to relax so it can transition into sleep.
  • Establish regular mealtimes and routines during the day. Include exercise and natural light exposure to reinforce the natural circadian rhythm helping to set sleep and wake up times. Plus, studies show when kids sense their parents are engaged in setting routines and boundaries, their sleep improves!
  • Remove electronics from the room. Connecting with friends on social media, TV, and electronic games keep the mind engaged, and blue light emitted from most electronics suppresses melatonin release, which delays bedtime. And avoid the argument that you need the phone for its alarm to wake up! Put the phone in a drawer or a basket - away from the bed - or get an old-fashioned alarm clock.
  • Keep a cool, dark, quiet, calm environment.
  • Get pets their own bed! Pets in the bed are a well-known sleep disrupter.