Sweet Dreams

Having a good night's sleep takes more than just a bedtime.

Tag: School

Your Guide to Campus Comfort

Hear that? It’s the sound of pencils being sharpened, books being cracked open and leaves crackling. That’s right—it’s back to school season! Whether you’re going to college for the first time or heading back for your final semester, gearing up for the new school year is an exciting time. There are friends to connect with, stimulating professors to learn from, football games to cheer at and study abroad programs to scour. However, this anticipatory time also carries its stresses. To make the transition easier, the Mattress Professionals at Sleepy’s have prepared the following back to school sleep basics you need to refresh your dorm room for the best school year ever. Let today’s lesson plan begin!.

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Back to School, Back to Sleep

IT’S BACK-TO-SCHOOL TIME, a time when parents do everything they can to make sure their children get a great start to the new school year. They buy them backpacks and school supplies, make sure their shoes still fit and pick out a new lunchbox for the healthy lunches they will pack for them. But how many think about getting their kids into good sleep habits?

During the summer when the days are longer, kids tend to stay up later. When they’re off at camp, parents can’t supervise their bedtimes. And summer slumber parties tend to turn into all-night giggle sessions. So when school starts up again, one of the most important things parents can do to help children succeed is to make sure they get back into good sleep habits.


7.30.15 Back to School



Sleep and learning
Scientists have long known that adequate sleep is important for forming different types of memories. For example, students who get proper rest perform better on tests than those who stay up all night studying.

According to the Associated Press, scientists at the University of Lubeck in northern Germany also found that sleep is important for learning motor skills, which uses a different part of the brain— and often requires more practice—than memorizing facts.

The scientists taught healthy, young students different finger-tapping sequences, and then either let the students sleep or kept them awake for eight hours. When they were re-tested, the rested students performed the tapping sequence 35% faster and made 30% fewer errors than the sleepy students.

It wasn’t that the sleepy students were too tired to physically perform: The difference persisted a day later after both groups had gotten a full night’s sleep.

“This suggests that sleep is important for the brain to properly store the memories of the training only within a critical time period,” the AP reports.



How much sleep is enough?
School-age children need nine to 11 hours of sleep each night. An Italian study showed that children who slept fewer than 10 hours a day had an 86% increase in injury risk. Lack of sleep also has been mistaken as symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder because it’s more difficult to concentrate without proper sleep. And sleep deficiency is associated with obesity, because when kids are tired, they don’t exercise enough and tend to get hungry late at night so they eat more than they need.


Establishing a sleep schedule
Here are some tips for getting children back on a school-sleep schedule:

1. Don’t get too far off track in the first place. It’s OK to adjust for later nights when there is a lot of activity, but sleeping until noon should never happen.

2. Make sure children’s beds are the right size. Many kids have growth spurts over the summer, so the start of school is a good time to evaluate your children’s mattresses. They may be ready for bigger beds, especially teens. Also, check the condition of their mattresses. Oftentimes kids inherit hand-me-downs. If their beds are older than five to seven years, they probably need to be replaced.

3. Set up a nighttime routine. Bath, pajamas and a bedtime story help prepare the mind and body for sleep. Have clothes laid out to make the morning easier— calm, quiet, relaxed. For older kids and teens, make it a rule to turn off all technology an hour before bedtime.

4. Make a morning routine. Set an alarm and open the curtains to let in light. Have breakfast on the table and backpacks ready to go—energetic and organized. A few days before school starts do some dry runs.

5. Be consistent every day of the week. During the school year, keep the same schedule on weekends whenever possible, otherwise there will be Monday mornings when the kids don’t want to drag themselves out of bed.


This article was originally published by Lissa Coffey for Sleepy Savvy Magazine (Sept 2015). You can view the original post, here.

Should Schools Start Later?

The internet is buzzing with the latest sleep debate.  Should schools start later as a means to combat teens’ sleep deprivation?  More research has been coming out that suggests that biologically, teenagers’ circadian rhythms are set to produce melatonin much later in the night, between 11pm and 12am, so they are unable to fall asleep in time to get enough hours of sleep before school the next day.  So if you’re thinking your teen is staying up late just to Facebook with friends and text all night, you may want to think again.  Both sides of this argument have plausible defenses, but at the end of the day, what should we go with?  Let’s bring both sides of the argument into the hypothetical boxing ring.

In this corner of the ring we have the long reigning champ known as logistics.  The way we have school times set up now is so that the youngest kids are picked up last so that they aren’t waiting for the bus in the darkest mornings of winter which is a safety issue.  Elementary students get picked up last and middle and high school students get picked up first.  School times that are currently in place exist because of parents’ work schedules as well as the students’ after-school activities.  If school starts later then the students get out later and then their sports and clubs get pushed back and so does getting homework getting done and so on and so forth, into a giant snowball of reasons why not to start school after 8am.

On the opposite side of this argument we have the rookie, the supporter of later school starting times.  Any teenager will automatically back this argument, even without further details.  But there are scientific facts that back up this rookie argument that could KO the reigning champ.  Teenagers’ don’t produce melatonin until later in the night compared to adults and children, which is why they stay up later.  So when they wake up early in the morning to get ready for school, there is still melatonin in their body which makes it very difficult to wake up.  The teenagers are basically zombies during the first few periods as their bodies slowly wake up.  If the school day started a little bit later than the students would be getting more sleep each night which may result in better attendance, higher grades and less of a chance of depression. 

I’m not even sure if I know where I stand on this issue.  I remember my zombie mornings getting ready for school and barely remembering my first four classes of the day when I was in high school, but I did survive it, with decent grades.  Then again, if my peers were given more time to sleep, they would’ve probably been equally successful with their grades and actually attend the first few periods of the day.  But then would we have to shift the average work day so that working parents are able to get their kids to and from school safely?  Where do you stand on this delayed school debate?  Do you think school start times should remain the same as they are or should they start later?  How do you think your high school experience would have been different if it started later in the morning?


Contributor: Emily Barrett

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