Creative Child

Retooling Summertime Sleep Routines

Help your child adapt to a school-friendly sleep schedule as September begins
by Erin J. Bernard on Sep 2nd, 2014

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NSF suggests putting a moratorium on caffeine at least six hours before bedtime: a single bottle of cola can keep a small body wired for hours afterward.

Minimize ambient summertime light by covering bedroom windows with a heavy sheet or blanket.

Daylight Saving Time ends Oct. 26, but until then, it may be tough for kids to drift off to sleep with the remnants of the sun peeking in around the corners of their curtains. The science: Exposing the human eye to light triggers wakefulness, which prevents the production of melatonin, a natural sleep hormone that helps us grow drowsy.

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Stay consistent with bedtimes and wakeup times, even as your kids settle into their September routines.

Like busy adults, busy kids often play catch-up with lost sleep come the weekends, but this is no substitute for a regular good night's rest. Aim for a fairly consistent bedtime throughout the week and the year, and say "No" to activities that will keep you or your kids out late on weekday nights. If your child consistently struggles to fall asleep at a regular hour, schedule a visit with your doctor to eliminate the possibility of a sleep disorder.

Erin J. Bernard is a freelance writer, editor, and photographer from Portland, Oregon. Before becoming a writer, Erin worked as a nanny and an ESL classroom teacher. She taught English at a Montessori school in Mexico and then ran an after-school language program in South Korea. Erin is the editor of the parenting guide, “Instructions Not Included: A Pediatrician’s Prescription for Raising the Best Kids on the Block,” written by Irwin H. Berkowitz, MD.

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