Sleep isn’t just about physical rest. For your child, it’s the foundation of academic achievements and emotional stability. Dive into the science of sleep, learn about its importance, and discover how to adjust your child’s sleep schedule for success.
The Science Behind Getting A Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep isn’t just the nightly ritual of turning off the lights and diving under the covers. It’s the behind-the-scenes work that fuels growth and shapes the learning experiences of the day. When your child drifts off, there’s a myriad of processes underway, each playing a role in ensuring they wake up refreshed and ready for a new day. Let’s pull back the curtain on this nightly phenomenon.
The Role of Sleep
- Mindful Maintenance: Sleep is where memory does its heavy lifting, solidifying the day’s lessons. The later your child stays up playing video games, watching TV, or scrolling through social media, the less likely it will be that their brain has enough time to imprint that important math concept they learned in school that day.
- Growth Central: While your child is fast asleep, their bodies are working hard to grow, repair, and recharge. If you find they’re asking you for triple helpings at the dinner table, most likely they’re going through a growth spurt and are in need of additional zzzzz’s. Be on the lookout for growth spurt indicators so you can plan for an earlier-than-usual bedtime.
- Emotion Central: Navigating your child’s mood swings can feel like trying to dance to ever-changing music… one minute, you’re break dancing to Run-DMC, and the next, you’re slow dancing to Boys II Men’s, “End of the Road” in a corner all by yourself. A consistent sleep schedule can keep mood swings at bay, ensuring a balanced emotional state for the day.
Resetting the Sleep Clock
Now, we all know YOUR child is on a regimented sleep schedule that you follow to the T each night, so this next section pertains to your friend who has a child that has gone a bit off-course and could use some restructuring (wink, wink).
If your child has gotten into the habit of staying up late and you’d like to help them hit a reset on their sleep clock, there’s still hope! Sleep transformations begin with small, practical changes that have profound impacts. Let’s chart the course to restful nights and energetic days.
- Bedtime Consistency: Establishing a rhythm is key. Have a sit-down with your child and talk about the brain science behind why sleep is so important, especially at this stage in their lives. Then, come up with a reasonable bedtime and routine you both agree to. If the goal is to have them in bed by 9:30 pm, what time do they need to brush their teeth, set out their clothes for the next day, and plug their devices in to charge to make that happen? Pro Tip: Just remember that you cannot skip the weekends. Think of your child’s new sleep routine as a garden—if you ignore it for a couple of days, those pesky weeds will start to take over.
- The Bedroom Environment: Have you recently walked into your teenager’s room, only to quickly close the door, pretending like you didn’t see (or smell) a thing? We get it- teenagers can be pretty gross. However, the science behind a clutter-free, calming bedroom that promotes relaxation and peace, allows your child to capitalize on the powerful connection between their surroundings and their mental and emotional state. You know those summer nights when the blackout curtains and gentle hum of a fan feel like pure magic? That’s the vibe to aim for. Check out 18 of the best teen bedroom ideas if you’re in need of some inspiration!
- Digital Detox: If you’re like 99.9% of today’s parenting population, trying to unglue your child’s face from their device can feel like preparing for a lengthy battle (in sub-below temperatures, without food and water). Our children are growing up in a world with 24-hour access to screens, but we have the power to set boundaries. Dim the lights an hour before bedtime, replacing tablets and TVs with books or soft tunes. Truly unplugging well before bedtime will help your child fall into a deep sleep faster.
The bottom line, teenagers need sufficient, high-quality sleep to support their physical, emotional, and cognitive development (keeping you both sane). Establishing and maintaining regular, healthy, and consistent sleep schedules will be key to your child’s success in the classroom, on the field, and at home.
Ready for more insights?
Dive deeper into the world of parenting with our free eBooks. It’s not just about sleep; we navigate a plethora of topics to support your child’s journey, from starting with a strong foundation to finishing high school strong. Sleep tight, young scholars!
Building a Strong Foundation in High School (9/10th Grade Years)
Preparing for High-Stakes Academic Years (11/12th Grade Years)
By Robert Brundage
Robert is a tutor and Creative Content Manager at Revolution Prep. Off-duty, he enjoys being silly with his daughter, trying out new recipes, and playing board games with his wife and friends.