With children all across Scotland now going back to school, there is no doubt that their pre-COVID routines are well and truly out of the window. Heading back to school after months of lockdown and isolation is bound to have some emotional and mental effects which can disrupt sleep patterns. So to help your kids improve their sleep and slot back into their school routines we have put together a list of tips and guidelines to help them transition easily.
Whether your child is a year old and going back to Nursery or 13 years old and heading back to school. One thing that is common amongst them all is the importance of having a consistent sleep and wake time. The circadian rhythm, which is like the bodies master clock, determines your sleep and eating patterns and controls the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Having a consistent bed and wake time each day helps the body's circadian rhythm to predict when to produce the hormone for and when to minimize it. Helping your kids get the best sleep possible. So get strict about bedtimes!
2. LIMIT SCREEN TIME
You have heard it time and time again about how too much screen time is not good for your children. But do you know why? Just like how having a predictable sleep time helps your circadian rhythm, too much blue light does the opposite. The blue light stimulates your brain activity and inhibits the production of melatonin, making it harder to switch off and fall asleep. To stop this from happening the National Sleep Association recommends turning off all screens and winding down for 30 minutes before bed for better chances of falling into a deep restorative sleep. So switch the bedtime tv show to a bedtime story instead and encourage your teens to turn off their devices.
3. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT MATTRESS
It may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised at how many people neglect the quality of their mattresses. Having a mattress that matches your body type and sleep position is essential for each and every one of us, however, it is even more important for children. Children's bones are still soft and they tend to do most of their growing during their sleep. That is why it is imperative that you invest in a good quality mattress with adequate support.
We suggest you speak to one of our sleep experts to determine your child's individual needs so you can find the best mattress for a good nights sleep. Your kids would have surely sprouted during lockdown, so it doesn't hurt to make sure their beds and mattresses are up to scratch.
4. TAKE IT ONE STEP AT A TIME
Getting back to the hustle and bustle of work and school life is daunting, especially for our wee ones, who have not yet developed the emotional part of their brains to be able to cope appropriately. Try to remember that these changes have had a huge impact on their mental well being and that there might be some anxieties and emotions that may interfere with the sleep process. Take things one step at a time and try to encourage your little ones to express their emotions before bedtime while incorporating calming techniques to help them deal with some of the big changes they are experiencing.
As our lives start to get back to normal there are bound to be a few hiccups as we adjust. Making sure that you as parents as well as your little ones get some good quality sleep is the first step to a happy healthy life!