Restoring school-time sleep-wake cycle

This is the first of a series of a short posts that I prepared for my Secure Start Facebook page. For those of you who don’t follow my page, I have included it here for you.

As the return to school approaches, one of the issues that parents often need to address is restoring an earlier bedtime. This can be a source of conflict, replete with children complaining that they cannot sleep in association with their body clock (sleep-wake cycle) having adjusted to the later bedtime that is a common feature of school holidays. Difficulty getting to sleep and associated stress and conflict can be counter-productive to successfully restoring an earlier bedtime. Our recommendation is that parents begin to prepare their child(ren) for an earlier bedtime now by getting them up fifteen minutes earlier each day and putting them in a light-filled environment until you reach the time at which your child(ren) would normally get up on a school day. This might be expected to have the effect of shifting the sleep-wake cycle back to the more normal rhythm of school time, with the result that your child(ren) will begin to feel sleepy at an earlier time. Once your child is getting up at the time they would during school term time, you can expect to encounter fewer difficulties getting them into bed at an earlier time.