(BPT) - The back-to-school season means much more than just a return to the classroom for kids, it also means new rigor to the routine as families manage life in and around school, work and after-school activity schedules. In fact, 60% of parents say they’ve lost sleep during the back-to-school season, worrying about their child and the details that come with the return to routine.
But families can take this back-to-routine fatigue head on with plans and habits to help everyone in the family to thrive and take advantage of every day.
1) Know Your Rest Needs: Research shows that seven or more hours of sleep per night equates to better health and performance and plays a key role in our ability to learn, solve problems and maintain a healthy outlook. For school-age children (ages 6-12 years), the National Sleep Foundation recommends 9 to 11 total hours of sleep per day and 8 to 10 hours per day for teens. Identify how much sleep everyone in the family needs, so you can start mapping your homework, after-school activities and dinner routines against bedtime and wake time needs so you can train your body to get enough valuable rest and better implement a back-to-school sleep schedule.
2) Clean Up Your Sleep Hygiene: Reduce exposure to artificial lights such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and TV screens an hour before bed so your brain knows it’s time to sleep, and create a dark, noise-free bedroom environment to eliminate sleep disruptors. Still having trouble sinking into slumber? Look for a sleep aid supplement that uses clean ingredients and is offered in different forms and amount of melatonin, like Natrol melatonin, to help everyone in the family find the right fit to fall asleep and stay asleep so they can wake refreshed.
“Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain,” said Dr. Mike Dow, Psy.D., Ph.D. and New York Times bestselling author of "Heal Your Drained Brain." “It regulates your sleep-wake cycle, telling your body when it’s time for sleep, and can be a helpful tool to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, which can be particularly helpful when you need a little extra help during shifting routines.”
3) Prepare for Tomorrow, Today: Before your head hits the pillow, make a family tradition of laying out clothes, pre-packing lunches, setting out after-school supplies and packing up backpacks. It’ll be the cue to start ending the day and will make mornings feel better prepared and less hectic. Forgot something on the list? Keep a notepad and pen at your bedside to jot down any reminders you want to forget for the night but remember when you wake tomorrow.
4) Work Together, Play Together, Rest Together: Set aside some time each week to look at the week ahead so everyone in the family can be on the same page with what to expect. Write down any key appointments, extracurriculars, playdates, meetings and even downtime, exercise and other self-care activities you want to incorporate into your plans. Aligning as a family about what to expect for the week ahead can help reduce potential chaos or stress day-to-day and help you readjust when faced with those inevitable changes in plans.
Understanding your family’s needs and key back-to-routine stressors can help you identify solutions to reshape your approach to time management, back-to-school sleep and wellness so everyone has the energy and mindset to enjoy each and every day to the fullest.