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Getting Sleep Back on Track for Fall

It takes about two weeks to get children and adolescents back on a regular sleep schedule following a vacation. Use these tips from sleep expert Lisa Meltzer, PhD, to help get your family ready to go back to school and work.

alarm clock

Create a consistent sleep schedule.

Establish a consistent sleep schedule with a regular bedtime and wake time. Each night move bedtime earlier by 15 minutes, and each morning move wake time up 15 minutes until children are getting the minimum of 9-10 hours and adolescents a minimum of 8-9 hours to be successful in school.

Mother reading a bedtime story to her daughter

Make sleep a priority.

Have everyone in the house follow healthy sleep habits including consistent sleep schedules, a relaxing bedtime routine and no technology in the bedroom. When parents make sleep a priority, children will also understand the importance of sleep for health and academic success.

Parent and children brushing teeth before bed.

Have a relaxing bedtime routine.

At least 30 minutes before bedtime, turn off all electronics and allow your child time to wind down. A consistent bedtime routine should include relaxing activities, such as a bath and reading time.

Mother tucking child in in a dark room with nightlight.

Create a proper sleeping environment.

Keep bedrooms cool, dark, and comfortable.

Children on their phones and tablets.

Keep technology out of the bedroom.

Remove computers, televisions, video games, tablets and cell phones from your child's room. Create a central charging station where everyone in the family “tucks their technology in” at a certain time (e.g., 8:00 p.m.) each night.

Teen asleep in bed.

Don’t vary sleep schedules on the weekends.

Bedtimes and wake times should not vary by more than an hour on the weekends. Don't use the weekend to catch-up on sleep. Once a schedule is established, stick with it.


This information has been approved by Lisa Meltzer, PhD (July 2018).