Managing Sleep and Stress for Back to School Success

With summer vacation drawing to a close, it’s time to move the family toward a more regimented schedule. Replacing the looser itinerary that may have developed over months of family vacations, sleepovers and compromised bedtimes with a more structured and regular daily agenda can be difficult. With the CDC estimating that at least 60% of schoolchildren don’t get enough sleep during the school year, it’s necessary to start now. By skillfully handling this transition you’ll be minimizing stress for every family member while ensuring that your children achieve peak performance at school and preserving your effectiveness on the job. Where do you start? By making sure everyone is well rested and ready to hit the ground running.

Back to School

As you begin to strategize, it’s important to keep in mind that, because of the way our bodies acclimate to schedule changes, you’ll need to begin making adjustments at least 2 weeks before school starts. Start with wake times; slowly shift the time that children are expected to be out of bed in the morning and earlier bedtimes will follow naturally. Pay attention to things like caffeinated soft drinks, which can hinder sleep if consumed after lunchtime, and eating a large dinner less than 4 hours prior to bedtime. Start to cut back on television and video games, replacing electronic distractions right before bed with whatever’s left on the summer reading list. Most importantly, don’t forget to practice what you preach! Not only is it important for you to be ready to deal with the new family schedule, you’ll also be setting a good example.

New Schedules and Activities

Getting enough sleep is essential for academic achievement; the effort you put into ensuring that your young scholars are well rested will pay off once report cards come home. It’s even more important to start tackling sleep schedules if your kids are gearing up for fall sports and the early morning practices that can be required. Remember that athletic performance and recovery from exercise are also closely tied to healthy sleep. You’ll want to make sure your family is prepared to deal with after-school sports and extracurriculars, especially with many school districts now pushing back start times.

Family Stress

At the end of the day, and probably at the beginning of the day as well, getting thrown into a new routine is going to be stressful for everyone, regardless of how well you prepare. Don’t forget, amidst all the hustle and bustle, to make time for relaxing hobbies, both as an individual and for the whole family to enjoy together. Scheduling is key; designate a night to spend time together and coordinate with your partner to ensure that everyone is getting some regular “me time.” It’s easy to get stretched too thin and, all things considered, you’ll all accomplish more if everyone is relaxed, happy and well rested.

Having Trouble Sleeping?

Managing all these moving parts is easier said than done. If you think sleep issues may be impacting your ability to keep everyone organized and on task, speaking with a sleep professional or taking a sleep health assessment is a smart next step to determine your risk of having a sleep disorder.

Should you have any questions or like any assistance on your path to better sleep, contact the FusionHealth Participant Resource Center at or 1-877-615-7257.

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