"In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day."
That is the opening stanza of Robert Lewis Stevenson's poem Bed at Night, and this time of year, it rings very true here in the Northwest. With the end of summer nigh, it's time to get kids on a school sleep schedule.
Most experts agree, children and teens need 10-12 hours of sleep a night, but studies show the average child gets only about nine hours of sleep, and teenagers often get even less.
It’s hard here in the Northwest, where it stays light until nearly 9 p.m., to convince kids to go to bed early and get up early those last few days of summer. But that is exactly what they need, according to
“Ideally, you want to start them going to bed early and getting up early at least two weeks before school starts,” Tracy said.
Students who don’t get enough sleep are not able to think as clearly as a well rested child, Tracey added.
Research studies in the past decade show that young children aren’t the only ones who need a routine sleep schedule. Teens need close to 10 hours of sleep a night, according to the American Psychological Association.
Here is a list of sleep tips for teens from the National Sleep Foundation:
- Make sleep a priority.
- Naps can help teens work more efficiently, if planned right. Naps that are too long or too close to bedtime can interfere with regular sleep.
- Make the bedroom a sleep haven. Keep it cool, quiet and dark. Let in bright light in the morning to signal the body to wake up.
- No pills, vitamins or drinks can replace good sleep. Consuming caffeine close to bedtime can hurt sleep, so avoid coffee, tea, soda/pop and chocolate late in the day in order to can get to sleep at night. Nicotine and alcohol will also interfere with sleep.
- When sleep deprived, you are as impaired as driving with a blood alcohol content of .08%, which is illegal for drivers in many states. Drowsy driving causes over 100,000 crashes each year. Recognize sleep deprivation and call someone else for a ride.
- Establish a bed and wake-time and stick to it, coming as close as you can on the weekends. A consistent sleep schedule will help you feel less tired since it allows your body to get in sync with its natural patterns. You will find that it’s easier to fall asleep at bedtime with this type of routine.
- Don’t eat, drink, or exercise within a few hours of your bedtime. Don’t leave your homework for the last minute. Try to avoid the TV, computer and telephone in the hour before you go to bed. Stick to quiet, calm activities, and you’ll fall asleep much more easily.
- If you do the same things every night before you go to sleep, you teach your body the signals that it’s time for bed. Try taking a bath or shower (this will leave you extra time in the morning), or reading a book.
- When you hear your friends talking about their all-nighters, tell them how good you feel after getting enough sleep.