One of the best ways to insure that your children have a good day is to make sure they have a good night… of sleep.
It may sound obvious, and there are tons of sleep studies that link a good night’s rest to improved performance, but do you know how many hours of quality sleep your child is getting?
The National Sleep Foundation suggests that the average teenager get 8-10 hours of sleep a night; younger students 9-11.
That’s a lot more doable for an elementary school student with the later opening. But if your high schooler’s homeroom is at 7:30 am, presuming they get up at 6, that means that they really ought to be in bed — and asleep — by nine pm… ten at the latest.
With today’s tight schedules, that may sound impossible. But rather than falling into an “all or nothing” mentality, try for “as much as possible.”
That means if a Sunday through Thursday ten hours a night is not going to happen due to outside activities, your family may need to re-examine priorities so if something has to give, it’s not going to be sleep.
Here are a few suggestions I’ve come up with to give your children the best chance at waking up well-rested and ready to perform at their personal best:
- Limit extracurricular activities as much as possible as not to cut into sleep time.
- Have a set evening ritual- same time; same “power down” routine.
- Tighten up the morning routine so they can sleep in as late as possible. (This is going to be a future post.)
- Support them in time management and study skills so they are not up late at night cramming for that test or slapping together that paper or project at the last minute.
- When they go to bed, take their cell phones and laptops… BOTH the devices AND the users need to be fully charged for the next day!
- No caffeinated products after three.
- No naps. They only enable staying up later. If they *must* take a refresher break, they should take a “Power Nap”, then get a glass of water, and do a little light aerobic activity for ten minutes like taking a walk around the block. It will give them a boost of energy without delaying bedtime.
- Power down and reduce screen time an hour before bedtime if possible. The blue light from screens is known to affect sleep patterns.
- If possible, keep the bed room for sleeping and have other conducive areas for work-related activities. That way, the association of slumber will come with those four walls.
- Establish and keep a peaceful atmosphere in the evening.
I realize that all of these suggestions are the ideal in a perfect world, but if you make the 153Promise to aspire to achieve as many as possible, your children will reap the benefits all day from a good night’s sleep the night before.