CLEVELAND – It’s hard to believe the first day of school is right around the corner, and you can bet a lot of kids are going to have a hard time waking up – especially if they didn’t have a regular sleep schedule over the summer.
So, what can parents do to help ease that transition?
“It’s important to start that transition early so there’s not a big jump for whenever you get back to going to school, and there’s not going to be that whiplash where you’re kind of real tired maybe for the first few weeks of school,” said Brian Chen, MD, sleep specialist for Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Chen said if a child’s wake up time is a lot different than when school starts, that transitional period is even more important.
Otherwise, the child could wind up dealing with sleep deprivation, making it harder for them to concentrate in class. It can also impact their energy level and performance in sports.
He said the transitional period for every child is going to be different depending on when they normally wake up. So if there is a big gap between when they wake up now and when school starts, he suggests parents change their sleep routine sooner than later. That way the child has an easier time adjusting.
“Tips for transitioning include getting a good night’s sleep, not drinking too much caffeine or sugary drinks during the day, or not having a meal too late at night,” he advised. “Same goes for exercise, try to do it during the day and not too late at night – anything that would be stimulating that would cause you to be unable to fall asleep.”
Dr. Chen said if your child’s sleep schedule doesn’t seem to be improving with time, you should contact their pediatrician for further guidance.