Adjusting School Schedules for better Sleep

Adjusting School Schedules for better Sleep

Sleep is considered the most essential factor to maintain overall health in humans. Sound sleep is a vital function to regulate all bodily processes thoroughly without disturbing any of the other bodily functions. 

We know how incomplete sleep affects our whole day mood and results in many miscoordinations in the human body. Lack of sleep refrains the brain to work properly creating utter confusion in sending commands to body parts.

A normal human body functions according to the clock which has been adapted over a while. 

It works on circadian rhythm ( i.e. according to the schedule you follow for a long period) however the adult human body can easily adapt to changes compared to teenagers than to kids in the age group of 1-7 years. 

Emphasising a similar routine makes the body aware of the changes that happen. The normal school going children's age ranges between 5 years to 15 years old and these are the ages that require most of the sleep. 

Healthy sleep hygiene helps children run a healthy body life, enhances mental strength boosts thinking abilities in school children, improves healthy life, regulates weight, controls the risk of health hazards like diabetes and heart issues.

Schools and school timetables play a vital role in modifying the collective schedule of sleep in children. To be honest, no school is going to change their whole schedule just to fit it for one kid’s schedule. 

Kids have the most active body type compared to that adult body types. Their sleeping schedule mostly depends on the two factors

  • How tired they get the whole day
  • The more your child gets tired the more quality sleep. Kids, being active the whole day, use their every nerve and muscle in activities like playing, studying, mental thinking, as well as other physical activities. 

    The maximum use of nerves and muscles in kids, makes them tired more in less time and helps them to get good sleep. To keep the body in regular function schools conduct most of these activities. 

    Many activities, mental processes in the school help children efficiently. However, if the school schedule is not suitable according to the child's sleep hours, problems may arise for them. 

  • How healthy is their body?
  • The next thing that affects sleep is health. If your kid sleeps late and has school timings early morning it surely will reflect bad health leading to less sleep that again leads to disturbing body regulations. 

    If your kid feels healthy he/she will surely have quality sleep.

    A study report by Pauline Bridgman, MD reports that kids take more time to adjust to any new schedule. She is a paediatrician and kids health expert who suggests that the role of parents here becomes necessary. Parents should prepare their children beforehand to adapt to the changes. 

    children sleep

    How long should children sleep?

    Parents have this question mostly. The sleep time of children or the need to sleep hours in children differs to their age range and the environment. On average study, reports say school-going children should get sleep of 9 to 11 hours every day.

    The more your kid is grown-up the less is the sleep hour. To make it simple let's break sleep time on a per 24-hour basis. Study shows children aged 5-13 years are recommended to sleep for a minimum of 8 hours to a maximum of 12 hours per 24 hours basis.

    Similarly, teenagers between 14-19 years are recommended to sleep for a minimum of 7 hours to a maximum of 10 hours per 24 hours basis. Although 19 years olds are not teenagers yet their bodies will take time to adapt to adult mode.

    Alertness, concentration, creativity level, complex thinking abilities, intelligence level, logical reasoning, etc makes every child lead with a good character. What if these key points get disturbed due to lack of sleep. 

    Yes, they can have negative cognitive benefits on sleeping.

    Research studies conducted on various basis reported sleep deprivation has collectively hampered brain growth in school-aged children. Less sleep disturbs the balance in kids and their ability to stay active, attentive gets lost for the while. Pauline Bridegman also stated the emotional and behavioural issues in children caused due to short sleep.

    Pauline Bridgeman, MD

    “Sleep helps kids absorb and retain what they learn at school while keeping them healthy, energetic and less prone to emotional and behavioural issues,” she said.

    Children's bedtime

    How to manage children's bedtime?

    To be honest there isn't a perfect way to do it. It can't be achieved in one stroke, so the better way to do it adequately is to try to achieve it step by step. Here are some tips to help you understand more about a better bedtime for children.

    Make smaller changes at once

    Identify the ideal sleep and wake time for your kid. These time slots can be achieved simply by parents. All the parent needs to do is to plan a timetable that doesn't rush the child in the mornings for their school. 

    Let's take an example: Suppose your child needs to be ready for school by 10 am. You need 2 hours to prepare them and complete all the chores required behind the child's back. 

    So set the wake-up time at 7 am, it will make sure that even if you lose track of the time and get late anyhow in the middle (which is quite frequent, since children are unpredictable) you would still be able to manage before time.

    See how the paediatrician Pauline put her words.

    Pauline Bridgeman, MD

    “Many parents let their kids stay up late all summer long and then face an uphill battle once school resumes. Instead, consider building in a weeklong buffer toward the end of the summer where you adjust your kids’ bedtimes and wake up times in 15- to 30-minute increments every other day.”

    You need to adjust yourself and your schedule too to help your kid. It's quite clear the sleep hours must be completed, and if a kid needs to wake up early in the morning then proportionally he/she needs to sleep early too. All these results in shifting everything in the early routine. Be it your dinner time or your other household chores.

    Lessen the intake of caffeine/carbonate consumption

    We know caffeine and carbonated foodstuffs refrain sleep and make the human body less groggy. To ensure your child gets perfect sleep time, reduce the intake of caffeine and carbonated items in the food and completely prohibit the consumption of such kinds of stuff before 2-3 hours before bedtime.

    Set and follow the same bed timings

    As mentioned above, a proper sleep timetable is needed. Kids are moulding structures that can easily be moulded. A strict sleep and wake up time is set, which means the same timing to be followed every day is made, kids will adopt the habit and inculcate the timetable in the period. 

    Make smaller changes at once

    No phones and computers before bedtime

    As explained in the above section, a human body follows a circadian rhythm clock that automatically signals the brain about timing when the body needs anything. 

    It's similar in adults and children, the body automatically signals the brain to get up once the required amount of sleep is completed. It is because of the hormone called 'melatonin' released in the body.

    Scientific studies have shown the charts of screen effects on sleep deprivation. The radiation radiated from screens of phones, desktops, or televisions commands the brain as it does in the daytime. This leads to no release of melatonin and keeps the body awake.

    It's a bit difficult to cut off the complete exposure of electronic and digital devices from children, however, the method of digital curfew can opt. Simply shut down all the radiation-emitting devices almost an hour before the children's bedtime. 

    Instead of television time engage the kid in some bedtime routine or bedtime activities.

    Physical activity for a better sleep 

    As discussed earlier, physically tired children are more like to have good quality sleep and fall asleep faster than those children who don't participate in any physical activity. 

    Normally, children should be engaged in physical activities to ensure good health as it boosts the metabolism rate in the body and acts as grease to the bones and joints ligaments.

    Physical activities also reduce the time of sleep onset, and let the child sleep sound within a short while rather than making the child struggle to doze off. Given below are some physical activities to help the kids sleep better. 

    1. Participate in sports activities (Let the child participate in sports, it will enhance their overall physical growth leading to sound sleep)
    2. Follow certain exercises (not before sleep time)
    3. Turn towards yoga asanas for better sleep
    4. Go for a night walk around the serenity (a walk after dinner and before bedtime will help the child digest easily and also will give good sleep)

    These physical activities make kids sleep instantly at bedtime.

    Create a bedtime routine

    Bedtime routine is nothing but simple rules one needs to follow before sleeping.

    To simplify it more, a bedtime routine can be washing your face with Luke warm water to help eyelids become comfortable before sleep. Lukewarm water will instantly release pressure from the eyelids and make it too easy to sleep for kids. 

    Help kids and teenagers to Include breathing exercises in their bedtime routine. Breathing exercises will improve the quality of sleep and help children to sleep tike stones without any disturbance during midnight. 

    Teach children to drink a moderate amount of water before sleep. Let the brain calibrate the information of sleeping in bed within minutes by skipping talking in the bedroom. 

    If you talk too much in the bedroom the child's brain adjusts to the talking section rather than sleeping. 

    Create a bedtime routine

    Bedroom environment

    Does bedroom environment affect sleep? 

    Truly yes. It does. An adult brain quickly adjusts to the environment (Creating a sleep environment) and it functions similarly in children as it does in adults. 

    1. Try to keep the children's mattress (buy the best mattress for yourself) fresh and smell free. The use of hard smelling room fresheners causes less sleep. 
    2. Ensure that the child sleeps in a silent environment, this way the children get enough sleep in less time due to the best quality of the environment around them.
    3. The bedroom environment should be airy with open source like a window, fresh air smoothens brain activities and gives the brain sufficient time slot to get rest. 
    4. Keep the lights turned off during their sleep, if the child is afraid of darkness use soft glowing night lamps or minimal radiating lights. 


    Does bad sleep affect a child's health? 

    Yes. Bad sleep is directly relatable to bad health. Either in children or adults.

    Can a sleeping schedule help your sleep quality?

    Yes, it does. The budding brains of kids mould in the growing years. The more sleep schedule is fixed the more is good, sound sleep they get.

    Stick to one pattern for the school period, you can change it for weekends to the child's body get a bit more sleep.

    Do students get enough sleep? 

    It depends on how the environment they reside in. If they are taught and trained according to all the things mentioned in the article, the chances of adequate sleep in ensured. Although if the child is deprived of many factors from the article it is most likely that the child is losing sleep. 

    What's the ideal sleep schedule for students?

    The ideal schedule for an average school-aged kid is 9 to 12 hours. If your school schedule affects this lime slot try to achieve the sleep of 7 hours in one go and the rest of the sleep in afternoon nap of 2 hours. However, this isn't the best way yet it's the most fitting alternate solution.

    How to teach children good bedtime habits?

    Be patient, that's the true tactics. Don't enforce anything on the children. Take time as a parent/guardian and also give time to the child to adapt. Try changing the habits in step by step process. 

    What to do if the child is unable to sleep

    If the child is unable to sleep or sleeps very little time, it can be a serious problem. Try consulting the doctor if all the tips and tricks fail. Medications and professional treatment should be considered soon.

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