Back-to-school sleep tips


Summer vacation is almost over, and whether kids break from summer, winter, spring, or even a long weekend, they seem to want to stay up later. Late nights can lead to difficult mornings transitioning back into their normal school routine. It is important for parents to put healthy sleep on the back-to-school list of necessities. Here are some helpful tips to get kids prepared to go back to school.


  1. First, calculate how much sleep your child needs. Preschoolers need 11 to 12 hours of sleep. Ages 5-10 need 10 to 11 hours, and teenagers 9 to 10 hours.

  1. About 10 to 14 days before school starts, parents should gradually start adjusting their child’s bedtime schedules. Have them go to bed 15 minutes earlier each day before school starts. This will help set their circadian clock to school time. Try to also keep the same sleep schedule, even on weekends, to keep sleep rhythms regulated.

  1. Stick to an age-appropriate bedtime routine to help them wind down. For younger children this may consist of taking a bath before bed, brushing their teeth, or reading a bedtime story. For older children, they may want to read a book to relax or find a relaxation technique such as meditation, yoga, or deep-breathing exercises.

  1. Control the sleep environment by keeping the room cool, quiet, dark, and comfortable. Electronics such as, cell phones, televisions, video games, and computers should be turned off an hour before bedtime.

  2. Limit caffeine intake after lunch or at least 6 hours before bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant and inhibits sleep. Healthy meals and regular exercise can help promote quality sleep.

  1. Avoid food close to bedtime, especially spicy foods that can cause acid reflux and raise body temperature, both of which inhibit sleep.

  1. Practice what you preach. Studies have shown that parents who set rules and abide by them themselves are more likely to have children follow their example. The right amount of sleep every night can help your child do better in school and help with mood and anxiety. 13717923_10205279444144540_1107853922_o.jpg

    These strategies can help you and your child have a healthy, successful upcoming school year.

Get a Better Night’s Sleep!

According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2013 poll on exercise and sleep, getting more exercise will not only benefit you by gaining a better quality of sleep, but will also help you fall asleep faster and have fewer sleep problems.

Here are the National Sleep Foundation’s definitions of the types of exercise found in the chart below.

“In this self-report measure, vigorous was defined as activities, which require hard physical effort such as: running, cycling, swimming or competitive sports. The next level, moderate, was defined as activities, which require more effort than normal such as: yoga, thai chi and weight lifting. Light activity was defined as walking, while those who do not do any activity classified themselves into the no activity level.”

National Sleep Foundation Results

To view the full summary of the Sleep in America Poll®, click HERE.

Where do you fall on the chart?

Zzzzz Pose

If you have a hard time getting enough sleep at night, there may be an easier solution than you think. A more natural and relaxing technique that has been around for centuries may be just the answer you have been looking for: Yoga. I use yoga not only as a great form of exercise and meditation, but as a way to relax right before bedtime. This isn’t a powerful flow sequence, but something more gentle. Follow this great sequence from Women’s Health Magazine (, to relax your muscles and mind before taking a long restful night of sleep.


Short Meditation

Sit up in bed comfortably, either with your legs folded or straight in front of you; whatever you can do with the most ease. Sit up and lean slightly back on your pillows or backboard. Close your eyes and rest your hands on your thighs and just breathe here for a few minutes. This doesn’t have to be a serious meditation but just a short while to do nothing but breathe.


Seated Twists

Stay in your seated position and twist around to the back of your bed. If you have a backboard you can grab onto that to help your twist. Breathe into the twist for a few breaths and then try the other side.


Easy Forward Bend

Keep your seated position and gently bend forward at your hips and let your hands stretch out straight in front of you on the bed. This will feel good in your hips and your wholeback


Legs Extended Forward Bend Flat Back

Slowly start to straighten your legs in front of you. You can keep your knees bent slightly since we are working towards sleep here instead of the power yoga move of the day. Reach towards your feet with your knees bent and keep your back flat. Bend your knees as much as you need to keep your back flat. This is a really nice hamstring stretch.


Legs Extended Forward Bend Round Back

Keep your legs extended out in front of you and round your back gently over your legs. This is a nice stretch along your spine.


Lying Down Knee to Chest

Roll back down on your back and rest your head on your pillow. Bring one knee into your chest and grab your shin to pull it closer to you. Breathe here for a few breaths. This lengthens your extended leg and loosens up your hip. Switch legs and do the other side.


Hamstring Stretch

Extend your leg straight up to the ceiling. Grab behind your knee or closer to your ankle. Keep the leg straight and slowly start to bring it closer to your head on each exhale. Try the other side. Remember to stay gentle with these stretches–almost like you are half-doing them. This will help you drop any tension left in your body before bed.


Half Happy Baby

Bend your knee again and flex your foot to face the ceiling. Grab the outside of your foot with the same arm as foot and bend your knee towards your armpit. You can also do this with both feet at the same time.


Bend Knee Lying Down Twist

Bend your knee back into your chest and twist your leg across your body. Turn your head in the opposite direction and bring your arms out to a T shape. Make sure to do the other side.


Star Shape Twist

Extend your leg that is twisted over and reach with that foot out to the diagonal. Reach with your opposite hand to the opposite diagonal. Look towards your hand. This is a really nice twist. Try the other side.


Knee Hug

Hug both knees into your chest and rock slowly side to side on your back. Let your whole back relax into your bed.



You’re almost there. Extend both legs out straight into a savasana position. Rest here for a while. If you prefer to sleep in this position then you’re all set and have a great sleep.



The best yoga position: sleep. Roll over on to your side and enjoy your night of rest.