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Getting kids into a back-to-school sleep schedule

You may need to start as far out as 10 days to get them ready for their first day.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — The start of another school year is near. In just over a week, almost every kid in Minnesota will be back to school.

And kids, that means a rude awakening when the alarm clock strikes, because one of the toughest transitions after a long, fun summer -- is sleep!

It’s tough adjusting to an earlier bedtime schedule after those fun-filled summer nights. You just can't flip a switch and get to sleep, so let's look at the best ways to transition back into a normal sleep pattern before school starts so students are awake, alert and ready to learn.

First, set your child’s biological clock to the new schedule. About 10 days before the start of school, gradually adjust sleep and wake schedules.

Make sure they keep a regular bedtime, even on weekends. Yeah, that might be tough, but this makes sure they’re getting enough sleep and also keeps their biological clock regulated.

Have a relaxing bedtime routine. This helps kids wind down. The routine should be the same every night, so they associate it with sleep.

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Create an inviting sleep environment. Keep it cool, quiet, dimly lit, and comfortable.

Keep electronics totally out of the bedroom and stop using them an hour before bed. Put down the cell phone and turn off the video games, TVs and computers. Using any of those before bed can lead to poor sleep.

Study: Smartphones are invading sleep for parents and teens

Limit caffeine. It's a stimulant, so soft drinks or hot chocolate will keep your kids amped up late into the evening.

The final piece of the puzzle: Make sure your kids eat well and exercise regularly, since both promote a good night's sleep.

With all that in mind, a student should be able to show up to school bright eyed and ready to absorb all the knowledge their teachers have to offer.

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