How to get the kids back into a sleep routine

With the new school year approaching, it can be a challenge getting the kids back into a bedtime routine, and even harder to get them up in a morning.

A good sleep routine is important for both parents and children to prepare for the end of the summer holidays. Bed and sleep specialist, Time 4 Sleep, has been working with solution focused hypnotherapist and sleep expert, Dipti Tait, to put together some useful tips that will help you and your kids to feel well-rested and ready to step into the new school term.

Set a routine
Keeping to the same bedtime and morning routine will help the kids get used to a sleep pattern and decrease the likelihood of daytime fatigue and irritation. Dipti says: “As the holidays draw to a close, it is essential we get our children back into a good sleeping pattern. Sleep is a biological necessity which is critical to our quality of life, especially at school. It affects everything from our learning ability, health and our mood.

“Like all devices that need a battery boost to stay efficient, sleeping well recharges our brain at night too - so, when we wake up, with a night of good sleep behind us, we can focus better on tasks, concentrate better and of course this has a positive impact on our memory recall and ability to learn - which is a bonus at school.”

Help them understand the importance of sleep
If you find that bedtime often causes a lot of unwanted stress in your household, it may help to encourage the kids to understand more about the importance of sleep, on their body and their mind. Dipti says: “The consequences of a poor night's sleep on a daily basis include higher stress levels, poor decision making, difficulty concentrating and irrational behaviour. We spend a third of our lives asleep, and while we are sleeping, our brain is subconsciously processing our stress, so it is crucial we get enough sleep.”

Below are the four stages of sleep our brain needs to fully recharge:

Stage 1 - Drifting into light sleep; this is a very light state that can cause us to jump if disturbed.

Stage 2 - The body is in preparation for deep sleep, the heart rate decreases, and body temperature drops.

Stage 3 - This is called delta, this is a deep sleep - it is the most restful stage.

Stage 4 - This is called theta, also known as REM. This is the dreaming state where our brain is processing stress.

Get a good night’s sleep
“Sleep deprivation can also have seriously negative long term health consequences. Insomnia impacts the immune system, so we may catch colds and be a bug and virus magnet, which is not very useful in a classroom full of kids.”

Prepare in advance
Introducing the weekday routine a couple of days before school begins will help the kids get used to their new sleep pattern. When the new term does begin, try to make little changes to your daily routine to make things a little easier.

Dipti says: “Get your nightcaps on, make a round of hot milk, have them choose their favourite bedtime story and snuggle down for an early night. A good night’s sleep is key to rebooting your system and clearing the brain memory ready for a new day of learning.”