With school starting soon, sleep may quickly become the first casualty of a busy, demanding schedule. After a summer of relaxed bedtimes and sleeping in, it can be a tough adjustment to suddenly go to bed and wake up as much as three hours earlier. And it’s equally tough on the parent who has to get everyone out the door in the morning.
A truly restful, battery-charging slumber requires eight to nine hours of sleep; however, the average youth gets just under seven hours per night during the school year. Poor or inadequate sleep hinders ability to focus, cognitive brain function and memory, and negatively affects mood and behavior. For older students, a lack of sleep increases the likelihood of having a car accident and resorting to overuse of stimulant energy drinks or substance abuse.
For parents, sleep deprivation for you and your family over time not only increases anxiety, it can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, depression, mental impairment, stroke and other problems.
Fortunately, you have time to start transitioning into the school sleep schedule and improve quality of sleep tonight. Here are a few suggestions for things you can begin doing right now to encourage a happier, healthier, more productive home and school environment:
In some cases, sleep deprivation is a symptom of a sleep disorder or other health concern. If you or your child is experiencing chronic sleep deprivation, it’s time to consult a physician.