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Helpful Sleep Habits for Back To School Students

As the new school year gets underway, it is more important for students to be getting enough sleep. Teachers and administrators across the nation are discussing ways to prevent our yawning, sleep-deprived students from nodding off in class. While school districts stay up late debating possible solutions, parents can make a difference and take proactive steps at home to alleviate their student's daytime fatigue.

According to the Better Sleep Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public on the importance of quality sleep to good health, the first step in helping kids from dozing off in school begins at home.

"We often tell parents that educating their child about how to get a good night's sleep is as important as teaching them proper hygiene and nutrition," says Andrea Herman, Director of the Better Sleep Council.

"One very important thing you can do to help your child sleep better is create a sleep-smart bedroom environment," says Herman. Here are a few things you should bear in mind to make your sleep environment more restful:

  • Mattress/Foundation
    If your child has trouble falling asleep or complains of tossing and turning throughout the night, you should consider their mattress might be stealing their sleep. The Better Sleep Council urges parents to take some time and consider whether their child's mattress is still doing it'd job — providing adequate comfort and support. It is important to remember that as children's bodies grow and change, so does their mattress needs. The size that was right when you first bought their mattress may no longer be appropriate. Likewise, parents should not give their teens hand-me-down bedding. A good rule of thumb: If a bed is no longer good enough for you, it's not good enough for your teens, either.

  • Lighting
    Keep the room dark — light is one of the most powerful time cues. The rising sun can stimulate the brain into wakefulness long before the alarm goes off. A dark room is the most conducive for a good night's sleep.

  • Noise
    Be aware of noise — from the TV, loud conversation or music, for example — that could interrupt your child's sleep or prevent him or her from sleeping. Steady, low sounds like the whir of a fan or air conditioner can be helpful because they help block out other noises.

  • Temperature
    Keep the room at the ideal temperature — about 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. A room that's too hot or too cold can disrupt sleep.

For more ideas on how to help your child achieve the best night's sleep possible, visit The Better Sleep Council Web site: For a free copy of "The Better Sleep Guide," write to The Better Sleep Council, P.O. Box 19534, Alexandria, VA 22320-0534

Copyright 1999 Health Resources Publishing

© 2000 Health Resources Publishing