Back to School Sleep Tips


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Summer is coming to an end, and we all know what that means — well, yes pumpkin spice lattes, sweater weather, and fall colors, but it’s also back to school time!

While it is not uncommon for bedtimes to shift later during a more flexible summer schedule, gradually transitioning back to a normal sleep pattern before the school year starts can help students start off on the right foot for a successful school year. The following are some tips to help promote healthy sleep habits for students:

    1. Gradually adjust the sleep and wake schedules earlier before the start of school.
    2. Keep bed and wake times consistent from day-to-day, even on weekends. This helps to keep the circadian rhythm regulated and ensure adequate sleep time.
    3. Incorporate a short calming bedtime routine, aiming to keep it the same from night to night in order to help the brain associate these steps with sleep.
    4. Ensure that the sleeping environment is cool, quiet, comfortable and dark or dimly lit.
    5. Electronics should be kept out of the bedroom, and exposure to electronic devices should be eliminated an hour before bed.
    6. Limit caffeine in the late afternoon or early evening, as later day caffeine consumption can cause difficulty falling asleep and contribute to poor sleep quality.
    7. Ensure that your child gets enough exercise, and encourage a healthy, well-balanced diet.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that school-aged children and pre-teens get about 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night, and adolescents get a little more than 9 hours of sleep each night for optimal health and functioning. Teaching children healthy sleep habits now helps to ensure these practices continue throughout their lifetime.


As the only American Academy of Sleep Medicine accredited sleep center in Northern Virginia, Fairfax Neonatal Associates’ Sleep Specialists evaluate and treat sleep-related problems specific to pediatrics and adolescents. Patients, ages 20 and younger, are seen by board-certified Pediatric Pulmonologists who are dedicated to fully treating a wide range of sleep disorders, including restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and more.

Learn more about Melody Hawkins, MD, this post’s author, here, and all of Fairfax Neonatal Associates’ providers here. Connect with Fairfax Neonatal Associates’ Pediatric & Adolescent Sleep Center online, or by calling one of their Sleep Center locations, including Leesburg, VA ((703) 226-2290) and Fairfax, VA ((703) 226-2290).


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