Its Back to School: How are your kids sleeping?

Hey New South Family!  I thought, as we all get ready for the school year to start again, it would be fun to discuss some of the health tips that keep our kids AND parents safe and healthy!

Back to School is so exciting for all of us!  I especially recognize the stressors and fun now that my Charlie is getting ready to start Kindergarten!  As we prepare to get back into a regular routine, one of the main things I think about is getting everyone back on a regular sleep schedule.    Whenever we take a break from our usual routine, whether summer, vacation, or even the weekend, we tend to stay up later then sleep later.

Dr. Mendelsohn (along with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Sleep Foundation) encourages parents and kids to put healthy sleep on the list of back-to-school necessities with some of the following tips!

1. Gradually adjust sleep and wake schedules, beginning about 10 days to two weeks before the start of school.  THAT’S NOW!  This will help set our body’s natural clock, the circadian rhythm.  The circadian rhythm is the pattern of mental, physical, and behavioral changes, to include sleep pattern, body temperature, and hormone secretion.

2. Keep a regular bedtime, even on the weekend! This make sure kids and teenagers are getting enough sleep.  This also continues to keep our circadian rhythms regulated.

3. Keep your children’s bedtime routine relaxing and age appropriate. Keep the same sequence each night to create a pattern that they associate with sleep and allows them to wind down.

4. Create an ideal sleep environment that is cool, quiet, dimly lit and comfortable. Melatonin, which is the body’s sleep hormone naturally rises in the evening.  When too much light enters the room, the melatonin is suppressed and sleep patterns are disrupted.

5. Electronics should be kept out of the bedroom. This goes for you too, parents!  This includes televisions, cell phones, video games, and tablets.  These rev up the mind and the light emanating from them disrupts melatonin levels.  Eliminate all electronic media an hour before bed.

6. Limit caffeine to the morning.

7. Healthy nutrition and exercise (kids should get an hour daily) both boost the sleep-wake cycle and allow for better rest.

Good luck as we get closer to the start of school and let us know at info@newsouthfamilymedicine.com if there is a particular topic you would like to hear about this month!