School days! Our friends at All You share tips for ensuring kids get enough sleep.
Skimping on Z's can affect kids' immunity, blood pressure, schoolwork and more. Here's how to help your kids max out their rest.
- Transition back to a school-year schedule gradually. Kids going to bed late and waking up late? Two to three weeks before the first day of school, move bedtime up by a half hour (if they've been going to bed at 10, say, get them to bed at 9:30) and wake them up 30 minutes earlier, too. Every three days, move up bedtime and waking time a half hour until you've reached your target.
- Don't allow phones or tablets in the bedroom at night. Kids with such devices in their room get less sleep and experience more daytime sleepiness than those who slumber in a tech-free zone, according to a recent University of California at Berkeley study.
- Keep bedrooms cool. The best temperature for kids' sleep is 68 to 72 degrees. If they're too hot, their bodies can become restless—which would interfere with the quality of their sleep.
- Wash sheets with a lavender-scented detergent. Several studies say the aroma decreases blood pressure and heart rate. One found that folks who sniff lavender before bed have deeper sleep and more energy in the morning.
- Institute a power-down hour. The last 60 minutes before bed, dim the lights and put on soft music to signal it's wind-down time. (No television or other stimulating electronic devices.)
- Get snoring checked out. If it happens regularly, and it appears unrelated to colds or allergies, talk to the pediatrician. Snoring might be a sign of sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing stops and starts during sleep. It can affect kids' academic performance by worsening their memory and concentration. And the condition can make it more likely that kids will be misdiagnosed with a problem such as ADHD. In fact, children who snore might be more likely to require special-education services, studies have shown.
Did you know? Kids age 6 to 13 need nine to 11 hours of sleep, while teens need eight to 10 hours.