With longer days and more free time, it’s natural for most of us to want to stay up (and wake up) later during summer months. James Davig, PhD, LP, a sleep behavioral psychologist at Regions Hospital Sleep Health Center, says keeping a sleep routine during summer is as important to good health as keeping up on healthy eating and being physically active.

Dr. Davig gives these 3 tips:

1. Make sleep a priority. Make sure each family member has room in their schedule to get the sleep their body needs to be healthy. The National Sleep Foundation recommends:

Age: Hours of sleep needed:
3 – 5 10 – 13
6 – 13 9 – 11
14 – 17 8 – 10

2. Set a schedule. Sticking to a school year schedule is probably not realistic, but it’s a good idea to still have a consistent routine. During the summer, try to get up and go to bed at the same time (or within an hour of the same time) each day.

Adopting a routine during the summer helps you maintain your internal body clock. This will make for an easier transition back to a school schedule.

If kids get in the habit of sleeping until noon, it can take weeks to get back on a school schedule. While it’s easier to get younger kids on a consistent routine, it’s tough to enforce a bedtime with teens. Still, it’s important to try to have your teen get up no later than 9 or 10 a.m. Getting them involved in morning activities can help.

3. Control the environment. Darkening the room, especially if it is still bright outside, can help cue the brain to make kids feel sleepy. A darker room also stays cooler. The ideal temperature for sleeping is 68 to 72 degrees.

How to transition back to a school year sleep schedule in the fall

Two to three weeks before school starts, start working on shifting your child’s or teen’s sleep schedule. The easiest way to do this is to have a set bedtime and wake time that allows for enough sleep, and then move both the bedtime and wake time 15 minutes earlier every 2 to 3 nights until you reach the desired sleep schedule.

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