Monday, July 29, 2013

Easing Into a School Sleep Schedule

July is winding down and August is coming up fast -- and for many families that means the start of the school year. Even here in New York City, where school usually starts later than most places, teachers report on September 3rd, although religious holidays push back the start for students until September 9.

Adam Inglis
One important way that parents can help students of all ages get ready for the upcoming school year is to think about sleep We've written before about the importance of sleep and how sufficient, high-quality sleep is crucial for optimal academic performance. When we work with students and parents we inquire about sleep and look at how inadequate sleep, or sleep disruptions, may impact student performance.

During the summer, it's easy for families to put aside strict bedtime rituals and for children to go to bed later than usual, or to sleep well into the morning. Teens who find summer a great time to socialize without the demands of homework may be up later than they would during the school year. And parents, who have enforced bedtimes during the school year, may themselves want a break from arguing about when it is time to go to bed.

Unfortunately, moving from the pace of summer to the more demanding days of school, and the need for a reasonable amount of sleep before leaving home at an early hour, can't happen the night before school starts. Families need to start at least a couple of weeks in advance -- more if possible -- to ease into the schedule they will follow in the fall. It's also important to think about whether your child's regular school year sleep patterns provide sufficient good quality sleep to help make their upcoming year a success.

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