The following tips are provided by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to help students get the most out of their sleep. Parents should be aware of these guidelines and should use them to help their child or teen develop healthy sleep habits.
- Go to bed early
Students should go to bed early enough to have the opportunity for a full night of sleep. Teens need about nine hours of sleep each night. Younger students need up to 11 hours of nightly sleep.
- Get out of bed
If you have trouble falling asleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy.
- Stay out of bed
Don’t study, read, watch TV or talk on the phone in bed. Only use your bed for sleep.
- Limit naps
If you take a nap, then keep it brief. Nap for less than an hour and before 3 p.m.
- Wake up on the weekend
It is best to go to bed and wake up at the same times on the weekend as you do during the schoolweek. If you missed out on a lot of sleep during the week, then you can try to catch up on the weekend. But sleeping in later on Saturdays and Sundays will make it very hard for you to wake up for school on Monday morning.
- Avoid caffeine
Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and at night. It stays in your system for hours and can make it hard for you to fall asleep.
- Adjust the lights
Dim the lights in the evening and at night so your body knows it will soon be time to sleep. Let in the sunlight in the morning to boost your alertness.
- Wind down
Take some time to “wind down” before going to bed. Get away from the computer, turn off the TV and the cell phone, and relax quietly for 15 to 30 minutes. Parents should keep TVs and computers out of their child’s bedroom.
- Eat a little
Never eat a large meal right before bedtime. Enjoy a healthy snack or light dessert so you don’t go to bed hungry.
Teens & School Start Times
Teens and Sleep Loss
Sleep & Children
Reviewed by David Kuhlmann, MD
Updated November 13, 2007