14 Mar

SPECIALISTS’ CORNER

As we know, middle school is a time of growing minds and increased awareness of the world around us. Something as simple as turning out the light and going to bed may suddenly feel like a challenge to your adolescent. Similar to how we helped our very young children soothe themselves to sleep, we often must guide older children in creating “sleep hygiene.” Sleep hygiene means establishing habits that promote a good night’s sleep, such as setting a routine. Here are some general tips:

  • Provide time to wind-down before sleep. At least 30 minutes before bedtime should ideally be quiet, relaxing activities. If your child suffers from sleep disturbances, encourage them to turn off devices before bed. Screens emit a blue light that is found in the light spectrum present during daytime hours. Acting as artificial sunlight, blue light decreases your production of melatonin, the powerhouse hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle.
  • Tea Recommendations (Drink one or more hours before bedtime) – Drinking liquids can interfere with sleep if you need to get up to use the bathroom.
    • Yogi Tea – Lavender Stress Relief
    • Yogi Tea – Caramel Bedtime
    • Celestial Seasonings – Sleepytime Vanilla
    • Celestial Seasonings – Sleepytime Tea or Sleepytime Extra
    • Celestial Seasonings – Tension Tamer
  • Reading with a dim-light on will help distract your mind into falling asleep.
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule—go to bed and wake up around the same time every day.
  • Avoid caffeine-containing beverages for several hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid large, heavy meals just before bedtime.
  • Exercising for at least 20 minutes per day at least 4 or 5 hours before bedtime improves sleep quality.
  • A note on Melatonin: While many students believe that Melatonin is relatively harmless, we recommend that parents talk to their child’s pediatrician before allowing them to take it on a regular basis.