How To Get Your Sleep Schedule Back On Track For School!

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how to get your sleep schedule back on track for school

Preparation is key to a successful first nights sleep before school. With these tips you can build your way to a better sleep before that dreaded first day of school. That way, you can focus on making sure you can be focused and attentive in class (where it really counts). 

The more attentive you are, the less likely you are to be asking the teacher what is required and improve your grades in the long run. 

 

Different age groups have different sleep requirements and this all varies depending on the childs individual needs, things such as; Age, activity levels and any medical conditions.
The American National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations are:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29073412/

  • Preschool kids (ages 3-5) need 10 to 13 hours of sleep
  • School children (ages 6-13) need 9 to 11 hours of sleep
  • Highschool Teens (ages 14-17) need 8 to 10 hours of sleep

How To Get Your Sleep Schedule Back On Track For School

Prep early at least a week in advance

Your body has a natural circadian rhythm that helps you to fall asleep when the sun goes down and wake up when the sun rises.

If your sleep schedule has been all over the place, then your circadian rhythm is off and you’re going to need to retrain it to get back on schedule.

One of the best strategies you can use is to have a consistent bedtime and waking time every single day.

Try getting to sleep at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning for a week in advance to train your body and fix your sleeping schedule for school.

Tips for parents: 

Start preparing your child to go to bed earlier during the week, this will put them in good habits. Good sleep habits mean less hassle in the future for you as a parent. 

One of the best strategies you can use is to have a consistent bedtime and waking time every single day. Try getting to sleep at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning for a week in advance to train your body and fix your sleeping schedule for school.

Get everything ready the night before

Being prepared for school is a simple way to reduce the stress of having to think about what you require for the following day. School days are long and having everything necessary for the day ahead is crucial in feeling on top of things. Some items you may want to think about being prepared with are;
A good list might be:
Books – do I have all my required text or reading? Do I have all my necessary stationary?
Clothes – What is the weather like outside? Do I need to pack a change of clothes for sport after school? Do I have my uniform washed or am I wearing a casual outfit? 

Food – Do I have enough food to sustain me throughout the day? Do I need a snack?

Bag –  Do I have a suitable bag for school? Is everything I need packed? 

Tips for parents:

Kids often live day to day and don’t think about it, they need structure and by making sure they are organised they won’t have the trouble of getting to sleep the night before school. 

Photo of a white button up shirt, and blue jeans with black shoes sitting on top. A black square box with the text Get everything ready the night before - caption also says "Don’t eat too close to bedtime"

Plan how you’re going to get to school

Before you go to bed, ensure you have a plan on how you’re going to get to school. Whether that’s by bus, getting a lift by car, walking or riding your bike, make sure you know in advance.

You don’t want to be thinking about this last minute in the morning before school, because you may end up thinking about this all night.

The goal here is to remove any unanswered questions so that you can mentally relax which will help you to fall asleep faster and get a better nights sleep the day before your first day of school.

Tips for parents: 

Making sure your child has the means and knowhow to get to school is important. By running through a plan on how they can get to school a night or two before can reduce stress levels of the child. 

A picture of a father and his children in their navy and red school clothes helping them into a red car. A black text box saying "Making sure your child has the means and knowhow to get to school is important. By running through a plan on how they can get to school a night or two before can reduce stress levels of the child."

Tie up any loose ends

Similar to the last two, you want to make sure you have everything in order in regards to your first day of school the night before.

These could be things like, knowing what classes you have the next day, which rooms they are in, where your homeroom is, completing all prerequisites for the classes or simply having a pen and paper for taking notes.

When it comes to getting a good nights sleep the day before school, preparation is the most important tool you can use to get a good nights rest and feeling vibrant on one of the most exciting days of your life.

Tips for parents: 

Ensuring your child has completed all holiday homework and assigned tasks a week prior to returning to school is a key way to help them achieve a comfortable wind down routine for their return to school. 

a young african american girl doing her homework with the help of her mother. a black text box saying tie up any loose ends and One of the best strategies you can use is to have a consistent bedtime and waking time every single day. Try getting to sleep at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning for a week in advance to train your body and fix your sleeping schedule for school.

Avoid caffeine and sugary snacks

This preparation starts hours before bed! Caffeine remains in your system for a long while after drinking it. It’s important to think about the timing of the caffeine, when you have your cup of joe you might want to think about having it more toward the morning and avoiding anything after midday. 

Your daily night time snacking routine may also be affecting your sleep patterns, by triggering a release of insulin right before bed. A high glucose meal provides an immediate stimulus to the brain which can prevent you from finding a restful state. 

Tips for parents: 

Monitoring your child’s intake of sugar and caffeine can dramatically influence their sleep potential and make sure they aren’t lying in bed awake the night before school.

Monitoring your child's intake of sugar and caffeine can dramatically influence their sleep potential and make sure they aren’t lying in bed awake the night before school.

Eat healthy meals

Healthy meals often contain the nutrients we need for not only our everyday activities but the processes that happen in our bodies when we sleep.

Take almonds for example, they’re jam packed with nutrients that promote sleep. The naturally occurring melatonin found in almonds can help your regulation of your internal clock and signal to the brain to sleep. Almonds also contain magnesium, which also has proven benefits for sleep. 

Other suggestions of foods may include things such as; walnuts, turkey, white rice, chamomile tea, fatty fish or even kiwi.
A well timed healthy meal can have major benefits to your sleep. Just don’t eat too late!

Tips for parents: 

Finding snacks and meals that support good sleep are crucial for a child’s development. Getting poor sleep can impact a child’s concentration and also their physical development.

Eat healthy meals

Don’t eat too close to bedtime

On top of what you eat being important, when you eat is equally important.

Eating right before you hop into bed to go to sleep means your stomach is going to be working to digest all of the food you just ate. 

This means it’ll take you longer to get to sleep and you won’t have as good a quality of sleep during the first few hours you’re asleep.

It’s recommended you eat your last meal at least two hours before bedtime and refrain from snacking between dinner and bed to ensure you get the best nights sleep.

Tips for parents:

Meal timing is important, its necessary they aren’t being sent to be with a full stomach and still digesting their meal from the night before. 

dont eat too close to bed time

Have a nighttime routine

A great way to prepare and train your body for a good nights sleep is to have a routine you do every night before bed.

This could be as simple as brushing your teeth then getting straight into bed.

Or as complex as turning off all your lights, putting on some incense, meditating, brushing your teeth, getting into bed, reading your kindle, then laying down to sleep.

Whatever it is, if you do it the same way every night, your body will soon learn that these things you are doing eventually lead to getting in bed and going to sleep so you will naturally begin to feel more tired making it easier for you to get to sleep.

Tips for parents: 

Your child needs a routine before bed. Whether it’s a warm shower and brushing teeth before they slide into those sheets, it’s a useful way to establish a good bedtime habit which can lead to better sleep. 

Your child needs a routine before bed. Whether it’s a warm shower and brushing teeth before they slide into those sheets, it’s a useful way to establish a good bedtime habit which can lead to better sleep.

Have a relaxing soak in the bath

Having a bath is a good way to unwind. You might find that the calming floatation combined with soothing smells and noiseless environment is exactly what you need to get your mind in a calm and sleepy mood.

The warm water also draws blood away from the core, to the skin which will help you achieve a better core temperature for sleep. And if you’re not a bath person, a nice hot shower will be enough to do just the same! The feeling of being clean and sliding into your nice soft sheets will be enough to get you to your happy sleep state. 

Tips for parents: 

A relaxing bath (if your child likes baths, I know it can be a task) or shower before bed will ensure their core body temperature is optimised for good sleep quality. 

A relaxing bath (if your child likes baths, I know it can be a task) or shower before bed will ensure their core body temperature is optimised for good sleep quality.

Distract Yourself

Thinking about your first day of school is going to fill you with excitement, nerves and maybe a little bit of anxiety, so the best thing to do the night before is not just not think about it.

But if I tell you not to think about a purple elephant, what are you thinking about? I bet it’s a purple elephant.

Better advice would be to distract your mind with other things.

Once you’ve got all of your preparation work done, fill your time with other things that you like doing and give yourself something to focus on other than your first day of school.

Tips for parents:

If your child is coming in saying they can’t sleep because they’re anxious (whether they know it or not) the day before school, a good idea might be to tell them to distract themselves, it doesn’t have to be the old “just count some sheep”. You can be as creative as you like! 

If your child is coming in saying they can’t sleep because they’re anxious (whether they know it or not) the day before school, a good idea might be to tell them to distract themselves, it doesn’t have to be the old “just count some sheep”. You can be as creative as you like!

Meditation

Meditation is an age old way to find calmness.
If you create a nice quiet space and slide into bed with some soft music or even just the tranquillity of silence, that might be just enough to tip you over the edge into the land of nod. 

It’s not about doing everything, sometimes it’s about doing nothing! Meditation primes the brain to reduce the noise of overthinking and anxiety. It’s a powerful way to empower you to take control of your mind.

Tips for parents: 

Teaching your child to be introspective and find a comfortable state of mind helps to achieve a good sleep state. If they fall asleep while meditating, that’s fine! Job done! 

Teaching your child to be introspective and find a comfortable state of mind helps to achieve a good sleep state. If they fall asleep while meditating, that's fine! Job done!

Play a calming game

Another great thing you can do to distract yourself from the thought of your first day of school is to play a nice and relaxing game.

Games that aren’t particularly competitive or going to raise your heart rate are what you want to go for here. So steer well clear of games like Fortnite, Mario Kart and the likes that are going to leave you frustrated.

Instead, grab a deck of cards and play some solitaire. Sudoku and crosswords are also great options to keep yourself calm while distracting yourself.

The key here is keeping you calm so that you can get a good nights sleep before your first day of school.

Tips for parents: 

Gaming isn’t a bad thing, but it needs to be less adrenaline driven and more focused on calming. A high intensity game may be too stimulating for your child and their bedtime routine. Just make sure the lights are out a bit before bedtime 

Gaming isn’t a bad thing, but it needs to be less adrenaline driven and more focused on calming. A high intensity game may be too stimulating for your child and their bedtime routine. Just make sure the lights are out a bit before bedtime

Read a book

Reading a paper based book or a kindle can help you find a happy place and provide comfort while you’re unwinding for the day. Avoid reading off your phone, this can disturb your brain’s process of falling asleep.

Tips for your reading list may be that you find a book that isn’t overly simulating and doesn’t get the heart racing, so pick something a little more subdued for your reading list. 

Tips for parents: 

Finding a good book for your child to read before bed can be an excellent way to promote learning and wind down their minds in preparation for sleep. Asking your child what their interests are and tailoring it to finding a good book is a great way to help them engage in reading. You can even make it a parenting moment, read a chapter or two together and then let the child take over. 

Copy of Play a calming game

Put your electronics away well before bedtime

It is well documented that the blue light caused by electronic devices can disrupt the brains normal sleep cycles. This circadian rhythm is what helps you find normality with the rise and fall of the sun. 

By preventing your brain from finding a normal cycle you’re inhibiting your body’s ability to find a restful state and this can have dramatic effects on your recovery and motivation.

Making a hard stop time for electronic devices can help your brain to achieve a regular pattern and make falling to sleep before school a lot easier.

Tips for parents: 

Making sure they haven’t got the TV on in their room (if they have one) and putting away all divides like tablets or phones by a certain time is important in getting their bodies into a regular habit. This encourages the brain to not perceive the light as day time, which is stimulating. That means no youtube or twitch late into the night! (as much as they may grunt and groan) 

Making sure they haven’t got the TV on in their room (if they have one) and putting away all divides like tablets or phones by a certain time is important in getting their bodies into a regular habit. This encourages the brain to not perceive the light as day time, which is stimulating.

Don’t sleep with your cell phone

Your phone is the source of many distractions and it is very easy to pick up when you get a notification or think of something that you might want to google.

By leaving your phone in another room while you sleep removes the desire to check it or respond to notifications.

If you use your phone as your alarm then set it face down on the other side of the room so that you would have to get out of bed and walk over to it to check it. 

This will deter you from wanting to check it throughout the night.

And always put your phone on Do Not Disturb so that you don’t get any distracting notifications throughout the night.

Tips for parents: 

Your child needs good quality sleep the night before their first day of school, they may be excited to see their friends and texting them late into the night about the next day they won’t be getting the sleep quality they should be getting. By limiting or removing phones in the bedroom you can sleep soundly yourself knowing they will be ready bright and early the next day. 

Your child needs good quality sleep the night before their first day of school, they may be excited to see their friends and texting them late into the night about the next day they won’t be getting the sleep quality they should be getting. By limiting or removing phones in the bedroom you can sleep soundly yourself knowing they will be ready bright and early the next day.

Don’t have any intense conversations before bed

There’s a lot happening in the world! But that’s not a bedtime topic and working yourself up just before its time to hit the hay is not a good idea.

It would be a great idea to find topics that are a bit more subdued or alternately spend some time alone to help you get into the mindset you need to prepare for the coming day.

It’s good to be passionate about something but not just before you need to go to sleep. It may help to take note or write some of it down for future discussion.

By doing this you’re also flagging in the brain that it will get taken care of, just maybe not right now! 

Tips for parents: 

Try not to bring up anything that might cause anxiety or stress. Take your childs mind off the things that may give them angst about the following day. This will help them to sleep better and not walk into your room half way through the night saying “I can’t sleep because of X problem” 

Try not to bring up anything that might cause anxiety or stress. Take your childs mind off the things that may give them angst about the following day. This will help them to sleep better and not walk into your room half way through the night saying “I can’t sleep because of X problem”

Dim the lights

Let’s go back to our circadian rhythm and remember how it relies on the rising and setting of the sun.

Quite often, our bed time is well after the sun goes down and with modern science, we have lights in our homes that allow us to be productive for hours after the sun goes.

Without getting too technical, these lights emulate the day, so that is what our bodies think it is and prevent us from becoming tired.

By dimming your lights, or turning them off all together and only having a small lamp on, it imitates the setting of the sun causing our body to fall into its circadian rhythm, helping you to get a great nights sleep the night before your first day of school.

Tips for parents:

Your child needs a dark or dim room to find their normal circadian rhythm. This may mean you need a lights out policy, or if they can’t sleep in the dark, a nightlight or a dimmer installed. 

Your child needs a dark or dim room to find their normal circadian rhythm. This may mean you need a lights out policy, or if they can’t sleep in the dark, a nightlight or a dimmer installed.

Think of boring things

By finding things that are uninteresting to you it’s less stimulating to the brain and you will find it hard to maintain concentration and be engaged in deeper thought. Perfect time to try and find that happy sleepy state of mind. 

A few suggestions of things to do may be naming each state of the country, listing things like; how many varieties of fruit can I name? How many different types of animals can you have at a zoo? How many different types of pasta can you name? How many fast food restaurants do you know of?

The more superficial, the better. Now is not the time to deep dive into complicated topics but to have that surface level thinking where the mind slips into autopilot and sleep can take over. 

Tips for parents: 

If your child is still struggling to sleep, provide them with some advice to think of things that aren’t so mentally stimulating. The old counting sheep method… but a little less outdated.

By finding things that are uninteresting to you it’s less stimulating to the brain and you will find it hard to maintain concentration and be engaged in deeper thought. Perfect time to try and find that happy sleepy state of mind.