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Back to School: Re-establishing a Healthy Sleep Schedule


If Back to School season is giving you that ultimate Sunday Scaries feeling, you’re not alone! As our lazy beach days transition back to school and work days, it can be challenging for our bodies and minds to adjust to alarm clocks, busier schedules and earlier bedtimes. However, we are creatures of habit and just as our health can benefit from rest and relaxation, we also need routines.

An integral part of learning and brain development is sleep, so it’s imperative that kids, teens, and adults enrolled in school, practice a healthy, consistent sleep schedule.

25% of young children are believed to suffer from poor sleep and significant daytime sleepiness.¹ Additionally, the CDC has reported that over 57% of middle school students and 72% of high school students reported sleeping less than what was recommended based on their age.² The impact of this lack of sleep reduces cognitive abilities and can harm school performance in children and teens.³

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine claims that kids ages 6 to 12 need around 9 to 12 hours of sleep while teenagers require 8 to 10 hours. Similarly, work performance in adults is heavily influenced by sleep quality and quantity and most adults require 7+ hours of sleep.

Age Group

Recommended Hours of Sleep Per Day

Newborn

0–3 months

14–17 hours (National Sleep Foundation)⁴

No recommendation (American Academy of Sleep Medicine)⁵

Infant

4–12 months

12–16 hours per 24 hours (including naps)⁵

Toddler

1–2 years

11–14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)⁵

Preschool

3–5 years

10–13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)⁵

School Age

6–12 years

9–12 hours per 24 hours⁵

Teen

13–18 years

8–10 hours per 24 hours⁵

Adult

18–60 years

7 or more hours per night⁶

61–64 years

7–9 hours⁴

65 years and older

7–8 hours⁴

 

Once your family has established the amount of sleep needed for each person, you can plan a specific schedule. Setting consistent sleep and wake times takes some time and dedication, but the habit will form quicker than you think - before you know it, you might be able to fall asleep and wake up without any alarms!

Begin by deciding on your wake-up time. Next, schedule a time to begin your bedtime routine every night, anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours before bed (set an alarm for the start of this if you need to.) Your bedtime routine can consist of a combination of relaxing rituals like enjoying a light snack, taking a warm bath, reading a book, but should be free from electronics.

School Age Child Bedtime Routine:

7:30 P.M. ~ Start time/Light snack

7:45 P.M. ~ Bath

8:15 P.M. ~ Read a book

8:30 P.M. ~ Bedtime

6:30 A.M. ~ Wake-up time

Adult Bedtime Routine:

9:00 P.M. ~ Start time/Light snack & cup of tea

9:15 P.M. ~ Bath or shower

9:45 P.M. ~ Read a book

10:15 P.M. ~ Prep bedroom environment - adjust temperature, close blinds, set alarm, jot down a quick to-do list for the next day

10:30 P.M. ~ Bedtime

6:30 A.M. ~ Wake-up Time

It’s undoubtedly difficult to say goodbye to a season of sunshine, vacations and late nights! However, the season of fall and school routines also brings fun activities to look forward to. If you’re prepared with a healthy sleep schedule, you can enjoy those opportunities even more and it can make the transition from summer to fall a little bit easier on your family.

References:

  1. Davis KF, Parker KP, Montgomery GL. Sleep in infants and young children: part two: common sleep problems. J Pediatr Health Care. 2004 May-Jun;18(3):130-7. doi: 10.1016/s0891-5245(03)00150-0. PMID: 15129213.
  2. Wheaton AG, Jones SE, Cooper AC, Croft JB. (2018, January 26). Short Sleep Duration Among Middle School and High School Students — United States, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:85–90. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6703a1
  3. Ming X, Koransky R, Kang V, Buchman S, Sarris CE, Wagner GC. Sleep insufficiency, sleep health problems and performance in high school students. Clin Med Insights Circ Respir Pulm Med. 2011;5:71-9. doi: 10.4137/CCRPM.S7955. Epub 2011 Oct 20. PMID: 22084618; PMCID: PMC3212860.
  4. Hirshkowitz M, Whiton K, Albert SM, Alessi C, Bruni O, et al. The National Sleep Foundations sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Sleep Health. 2015;1(1):40–43.
  5. Paruthi S, Brooks LJ, DAmbrosio C, Hall WA, Kotagal S, Lloyd RM, et al. Recommended amount of sleep for pediatric populations: a consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. J Clin Sleep Med. 2016;12(6):785–786.
  6. Watson NF, Badr MS, Belenky G, et al. Recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult: a joint consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. Sleep. 2015;38(6):843–844.