There's nothing routine about heading back to school this year. What your kids' school day will involve will look different depending on where you live and what you’ve decided is best for your family. One thing is the same for everyone though, and that is the fact that your kids’ sleep is a crucial part of a healthy, happy lifestyle!
As you and your family navigate a school year like none we’ve ever seen before, keep a few basic principles in mind:
#1 Establish a bedtime routine
This time of year can feel chaotic, but it’s crucial to create and maintain a consistent sleep schedule. This includes throughout the week and even on weekends. Kids should go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. For younger children, bedtime routines can include a bedtime story or music. You may want to encourage older kids and teens to listen to soothing music or practice meditation for better sleep. Remember, excessive screen time, especially right before bedtime, has been shown to interrupt sleep. When developing their bedtime routine, don’t assume watching television is the right thing to calm them down for the night.
#2 Make sure they get enough sleep
Sorry to say it, but part of the bedtime routine you create involves a bit of math! In order to make sure your child gets enough sleep, you’ll need to subtract the hours from when they need to wake up from school. Each age group needs different amounts of sleep to feel their best, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Most school-age kids need 9 to 11 hours of sleep. Teens need between 8 to 10 hours. If your student’s school day begins at 8 am, that means they’ll need to be in bed around 10 pm at the latest!
#3 Keep them from oversleeping
If you’re doing virtual learning or homeschool, it may be tempting to let them to sleep until noon. This throws off their normal sleep and wake cycle. Instead of waking up refreshed and well-rested, they'll wake up feeling groggy because they’ve actually slept too much. That, in turn, will set them up for a tough day of learning. Studies show that teenagers who don’t get the correct amount of sleep are more apt to get poor grades in school. This has to do with how sleep affects your cognitive ability. Feeling either overly tired or overly groggy will result in problems with attention, memory, decision making, reaction time, and creativity, all of which are important in school.
#4 Designate their bedroom for sleeping only
You don’t work from your bedroom, do you? You have your own office, and so should your child or teen. A bedroom shouldn't be associated with stress; it should be associated with relaxation. Otherwise, feelings of worry and anxiety can interfere with sleep. This can be difficult if your student is doing remote learning this fall. Set aside another place in the house for them, either at their own desk in your home office or even up at the kitchen table. This way, they don’t associate the stress of school with being in their bedroom.
#5 Get everyone outside
If you’re like many families, you’ve spent more time at home during 2020 than any previous year. You’ve not just been at home, but actually inside your house. Kids need a psychological break from being confined- and so do you! Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress, boost creativity, help your immune system, and more. Plan time each day to get outside, whether it’s heading to the beach, walking around the neighborhood, playing in the yard, or hiking a nature trail. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find being surrounded by nature does wonders for your own stress as well!
#6 Incorporate exercise into your daily routine
Remote learning means more time spent online, sitting down and staring at a screen. This doesn’t mean it’s the wrong thing for your child, but it does mean you’ll need to make extra effort to ensure they get the movement their bodies and minds need. Everyone, including kids and teens, need movement throughout the day to fall asleep easily and stay asleep. We recommend 30 minutes of yoga for people of all ages, but bike riding, walking, swimming, or participating in organized sports are great ways to get physical activity as well.
Don’t Forget About Your Mental Health
There is some good news regarding sleep and remote learning. Depending on what time classes start, your child can sleep in a little longer in the morning since they don’t need to catch the bus. In particular, teens can really benefit from this extra time. While you are asleep, your body is repairing and growing. That is one reason kids need so much of it; they are still growing!
That’s great for them, but what about you? The impact that back-to-school has on moms is even greater this year, especially if “back-to-school” means “back to logging into Google Classroom.” More than ever, you need social and emotional support as the school year begins. First, make sure you’re getting enough sleep too! Prioritize your own self-care, whether it be attending a yoga class, taking a bubble bath, or simply chatting with your friends in a virtual hangout session. Remember, you can’t parent your best if you’re not physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy.
The Difference a Premium Mattress Makes
Some people are back to physical learning with masks and other sanitation in place. Others are staying home and attending school virtually. Some families have decided to make the cut from the school system altogether and begin homeschooling. Whatever your family’s school day looks like this fall, kids still need healthy daytime and bedtime routines to make sure they function to the best of their potential. Along with the stress of navigating a pandemic, heading back to school can also have a big impact on sleep. You’ll be doing your children a service by making sure they’re sleeping on a premium mattress they find comfortable. Bring them into one of our PranaSleep retail partners to lay down to find the high-quality mattress they love. They’ll sleep better, awake refreshed, and do better in school- no matter how they’re learning this year.