Well-Rested Children, Successful Students:
Top Ten Tips for Encouraging
Positive Sleep Habits
What are positive sleep habits and why are they important?
We often hear students and parents lament about the challenges of obtaining a good night sleep, and feeling rested enough to tackle the school day and extracurricular activities bright and early. Good sleep habits are often referred to as “Sleep Hygiene,” which includes behaviors and patterns that promote quality sleep and daytime attentiveness. Good quality sleep is crucial for physical well-being and mental health. Furthermore, students who are well-rested are more productive and ready to learn during their school day.
10. Create a Device Parking Lot: When one has access to electronic devices at bedtime, it can be tempting to utilize them - particularly for middle school students who are learning to regulate their use of such devices. Therefore, having a charging station or “parking lot” for all devices in a centralized location in the home can support your students in learning to self-monitor their behavior.
9. Establish a Routine: A consistent routine is key to alerting the body that it is time for bed. Some ideas for a simple routine include taking a warm bath or shower, mindful activities such as breathing exercises or gentle yoga. Try to avoid conversational topics or activities that may be emotionally charged or heavy during this time.
8. Establish a Sleep Cycle: Getting enough exposure to natural light during the day, and darkness at night can help the body to establish and maintain an appropriate sleep cycle.
7. Consistent Bedtime and Waketime: When possible, maintain a consistent routine -even on weekends. Staying up late and sleeping in on the weekends can make it difficult to get to back on schedule Sunday nights before the weekday demands of academics and extracurricular activities resume.
6. Create a Soothing Sleep Environment: The bedroom should be a comfortable and soothing place, with a temperature of approximately 65-68 degrees. Having a pleasant mattress and pillow(s) is also important. Ensure that the lighting in the room is soft. For some children and adolescents, it may be helpful to allow them to pick out decor or bedding that makes the room feel more comfortable and soothing for the individual.
5. Physical Activity: Regular physical activity can impact the quality of sleep and improve overall alertness and health. While exercise can help promote positive sleep, it is recommended to tailor your exercise routine to fit your personal needs and avoid strenuous exercise too close to bedtime.
4. “Screen-Free” Time: Electronic stimulation from cell phones, tablets, television or video games can make falling asleep much more difficult. Therefore, establishing a “screen-free” time at least thirty minutes before bed can support relaxation and time to decompress from the day.
3. Other Sleep Supports: For students who are having trouble falling asleep, supports such as a white noise machine, fan, ear plugs, and/or humidifiers can help create a relaxing environment.
2. Simplify Mornings: Encouraging students to organize their mornings the evening before can allow for more sleep on weekdays. Some ideas to organize the night before include picking out clothes for the next day, packing his or her backpack, showering, and making lunch.
1. Model Good Sleep Habits: Children learn more by our example than our words. When parents model good sleep habits for their children, it sends the message that sleep is important.
SRMS Guidance Department
“Encouraging Good Sleep Habits.” Child Mind Institute, childmind.org/article/encouraging-good-sleep-habits/. Accessed 4 Apr. 2017.
National Association of School Psychologists . www.nasponline.org/. Accessed 4 Apr. 2017.
National Sleep Foundation. sleepfoundation.org/. Accessed 4 Apr. 2017.