Healthy Sleep Habits for the Summer

School’s out for summer! For most school-age children and adolescents this means considerable changes in their daytime routines and a less structured schedule. Healthy sleep routines and habits are important throughout the lifespan and summertime is no exception. Below are three tips to help children and adolescents avoid sleep disturbances this summer and into the next school year.

Ensure Adequate Sleep Time

Adequate sleep time is always important no matter what season. Whether kids spend their day in the classroom, at home or at camps, their bodies and minds still require adequate sleep. Multiple studies have proven that adequate sleep is important for optimal growth, development, behavior and even optimal immune system functioning. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends the following amounts of sleep on a regular basis to promote health in children and adolescents:

  • Children 3-5 years: 10-13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
  • Children 6-12 years: 9-12 hours per 24 hours
  • Teenagers: 8-10 hours per 24 hours
  • (And in case adults need a reminder, adults should sleep 7-9 hours per 24 hours.)

Maintain Consistent Sleep Schedule

Summertime often brings opportunities to deviate from the normal schedule, including travel, camps, sleepovers, etc. Sleep schedules during the summer do not have to be all or nothing, but having a goal of consistency will help to avoid completely altering the routine schedule and circadian rhythm. There will be times when flexibility will be needed as a fun opportunity will win out over getting to bed on time. Just make sure to get back on track as soon as possible. The goal in these instances is short-term flexibility while keeping long-term consistency.

Prepare for Back-to-School Routines in Advance

The summer tends to fly by quickly, and the time to go back to school comes sooner than we realize. If your child’s sleep schedule deviates significantly over the summer, then starting to adjust it about two weeks before school starts will be much easier and more effective than adjusting it just a few days or the night before school starts. For example, try moving the bedtime up by 15 minutes at a time until your child gets back to their ideal bedtime.

The sleep specialists with UofL Physicians – Sleep Medicine are nationally regarded for their expertise in the diagnosis, treatment and care of sleep disorders. With multiple convenient locations around the region, there’s no reason to lose a minute’s sleep! Call 502-259-6610 for more information or to schedule a sleep consultation.

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Article by: Tiffany Helmerich, APRN

Tiffany Helmerich, APRN, is a board-certified nurse practitioner with UofL Health – Sleep Medicine, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. Tiffany is a graduate of University of Louisville and Indiana Wesleyan University.

All posts by Tiffany Helmerich, APRN
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