On the first day of school, a typical Minnesota teenager arrives for class having had 90 minutes less sleep than that teen had each night all summer. Over the course of the school year, this pattern of poor sleep will average just over an hour less sleep on school days compared to summer vacation.
Teens are particularly vulnerable to this issue. Natural morning waking time becomes delayed for most teenagers, whether they are highly motivated or not and whether they are from Sacramento or Seoul. Adjusting to this change in sleep time for the first day of school involves more than ‘getting back in the groove’ for the school year. It can be a dose of trouble.
- Starting at least a week before school, gradually advance waking time and bedtime closer to what it will be on the first day of school
- Expose your teen to bright or outdoor light early in the morning.
- During school, encourage a regular evening routine and bedtime schedule.
- Set a curfew for electronic devices, homework and bright lighting in the bedroom before natural sleep time, such as 10-11 p.m. on weekdays.
- Avoid enrolling your teen in before-school activities or early school starts, especially if they struggle with sleep schedules.
- Engage your teenager in sleep health education by professionals or find your own answers by searching resources such as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
- See your pediatrician or a sleep specialist if sleepiness or sleep schedules continue to be challenging or if sleepiness interferes with your child’s safety, happiness, or school performance.
For further advice or to schedule an appointment, contact Fairview Sleep Centers at 855-270-5574.
Fairview offers sleep consultation services for adolescents at Fairview Sleep Centers – Minneapolis and Fairview Sleep Centers – Chisago City.