Back to school: Experts weigh in on how to reset your child’s sleep routine

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. --Staying up late and sleeping until noon is all fun and games until you have to wake up early for work or school.

Just like our kids, sleep routines tend to take a break when school's out. And now that the start of the school year is underway, experts say it's time to get those sleeping patterns back on track.

But what do you do if your child refuses to get out of bed in the morning?

Dr. John Schuen, a pediatric pulmonary and sleep medicine doctor at Spectrum Health, suggests solving that problem with a little tough love.

"Make it bright in the room, roll the shades up, turn the lights on, get them out of bed," Dr. Schuen said.

Think of the feeling you get after a long flight. Your body tries to adjust in the coming days with a lot of sleep. the same thing happens when we force our kids into a new sleep routine too quickly, according to Dr. Schuen.

"The key thing is to wake them up as early as you can and get them to sleep as early as possible, and to avoid naps," Dr. Schuen said. And he recommends you shift your child's bedtime 15 minutes earlier every three to four days.

In addition, avoid bright light at night, because blue light stimulates the brain and tells it to wake up. Dim the lights, as well as the screen on your phone. You can do that by using a blue light filter, like Nightswitch on the iPhone. Blue light filters work to block out the wavelength of light that wakes us up and suppresses melatonin. If you don't have an iPhone, you can download a blue light filter app.

How to turn your iPhone on 'Night Shift' (Note: It does not have to be on airplane mode)

Speaking of melatonin, Dr. Schuen says teens can try taking a tablet about an hour before bed, adding that all kids should have an established bedtime routine, whether that be a bath, shower, reading a book, or praying.

In addition, Dr. Schuen suggests keeping a regular sleep schedule on the weekends too. And if you're going to have a late night, have it on Friday so then Saturday and Sunday you can catch up on sleep.

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