Sleep Tips for School-aged Children

If your children have gone back to school, and you are finding that all they want to do is go back to sleep in the morning, you are not alone.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has declared sleep insufficiency to be a nationwide public health epidemic, and the American Academy of Pediatrics in its recently released policy statement, School Start Times for Adolescents said "Insufficient sleep represents one of the most common, important and potentially remediable health risks in children, particularly in the adolescent population, for whom chronic sleep loss has increasingly become the norm."


sleep-report-graphic-300Sleep insufficiency affects people of all ages, but for school-aged children, it is exacerbated when school starts. "We are a nation of people who long for a good night's sleep. Restful sleep is the new Holy Grail, sought by one in three bleary-eyed Americans," according to Health Journeys' free wellness report, An Epidemic of Sleeplessness, by Belleruth Naparstek.

According to the report, sleep insufficiency results in irritability, poor judgment, muddy thinking, strained relationships and sub-par functioning, not qualities anyone wants to take to school with them. Fortunately, there is help for children, as well as adults. Many of the tips in BR's report can easily be used by children, teens and college students.

Her tips on keeping it no tech are particularly useful for teens:

  • Avoid backlit reading before bed (as on an iPad). That kind of light wakes up your brain without you knowing it.
  • Use a thick hand towel to cover your digital clock, your phone and anything else that emits those weird lights, and your body will produce the melatonin it needs to get you your zzz's.
  • In an ideal world you should not have a TV or computer in your bedroom, but if you do, shut 'em down (at least an hour before going to sleep) and cover those too.

Just a few of the many other tips from the free report

  • Go to sleep and wake up at around the same time every day, and don't vary widely from the schedule on weekends.
  • Keep the bedroom cool, dark and well-ventilated.
  • Get sufficient natural light and exercise during the day
  • Write down the things that are worrying you and resolve to deal with them during the following day (school-aged children have many worries that keep them awake, including upcoming tests and presentations).
  • Refrain from anything that is stressful or over-stimulating before bed (including violent TV shows and commercials).
  • Consider doing something relaxing an hour before bed, such as listening to soothing music, yoga breathing or guided meditation.

We have just the thing to help the little ones get the benefit of sleep-inducing yoga poses.

Good Night Yoga, by Mariam Gates, beautifully illustrated by Sarah Jane Hinder uses poetry, gently demonstrated poses and a story of the birds, bees and animals coming to rest at day's end to encourage restful sleep for children from nursery school through pre-adolescence (when they can read the book and do the poses on their own).

For teens and college students, Belleruth's Healthful Sleep is our best-seller. For students in that age group who need help getting restful sleep and experience challenges with self-esteem Dr. Traci Stein's Self-esteem during Sleep helps bolster self-esteem while promoting restful sleep. It is particularly beneficial to those whose inner critic interferes with positive change during the waking state.

To see other guided imagery titles for kids and teens visit our online store.

As always, we welcome your comments and stories. What are your favorite tricks for getting your children out of bed in the morning? Whether you are, or have ever been, a student, parent or teacher we at Health Journeys wish you restful nights and radiant days.

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