One of the best things about summer break can be sleeping late in the mornings (unless you're an early bird). This can become a problem, however, when fall rolls around and you have to get back into your early-morning routine. This transition is difficult because your body has natural circadian rhythms that can be disrupted when your schedule changes. The good news is that your body's "clock" can be reset, along with your alarm, so that you can arrive at school on time and well-rested!
[Edit]Readjusting Your Sleep Schedule Before School Starts
- Determine how much sleep you need. Over the summer, you most likely got into the habit of sleeping in and staying up late. To prepare for rising earlier for school, you will need to reset your internal, or circadian, clock to make the adjustment back to school easier.
- While everyone is a little different, the rule of the thumb is that those between 5-9 years old need 10-11 hours of sleep per night, and those between 10-18 years old need 8½-9½ hours of sleep per night.
- Set a bedtime. Calculate what time you will need to go to sleep in order to get up and out the door on time in the morning. For example, say school starts at 8 a.m., and you need to leave the house by 7:30 a.m. Let's also say it takes you an hour to eat breakfast and to get ready. If you need 9 hours of sleep, then you will need to get up at 6:30 a.m. and be asleep by 9:30 p.m.
- Depending upon how quickly you fall asleep, you may need to go to bed earlier than the time you calculated. If it takes you a ½ hour to fall asleep, and you've determined you need to be asleep at 9:30 p.m., then you should be in bed at 9 p.m.
- Reset your internal clock. Move your bedtime back by 15 minutes per day every 3-4 days. Wake up 15 minutes earlier on these days, too. Do this every day of the week, including on the weekends, until you're falling asleep at your decided-upon bedtime, or at 9:30 p.m. in the example above.
- Depending upon how late you've been staying up, this method may take several weeks to accomplish to get to your desired bedtime, so plan ahead.
- If you don't plan ahead, you'll need to speed up the process. Try moving your bedtime back by 1-2 hours every 1-2 days and waking up 1-2 hours early on these days, too. It could be rough going at first but likely less so than making the change in one day, especially on the first day of school when you might already be nervous and have trouble sleeping.
- Stick to the plan on weekends, or the one, if you've only given yourself a week to complete the process. If you don't stay on your sleep schedule during the weekend, it throws off your circadian rhythm, making Monday morning a literal drag.
[Edit]Re-establishing Your School Morning Routine
- Eat your breakfast early. Summertime doesn't just throw your sleep off-kilter. Your whole daily schedule changes, which can be pretty fun and relaxing, but also difficult to kick to the curb when it ends. When you wake up, eat your breakfast at the same time as you will when you wake up for school.
- Studies have shown that breakfast helps wake you up and gives you more energy. Eating in the morning provides your body with glucose, the source of energy for your whole body, so it's not surprising if you often feel lethargic when you first awaken. And why breakfast will help pep you up – you are, after all, breaking your overnight fast.
- Research also shows that eating carbohydrate-rich cereals improves your mood, which can only help in gearing up for school.
- Get ready as you would for school. After you wake up, proceed as if you are going to school. If you normally eat first, do that. If you normally take a shower first, do that. The point is to reform habits, so when school starts you won't be quite so startled when the alarm starts ringing in your ear and the act of getting out of bed won't feel quite so drudging.
- Make sure you finish the job. For instance, if you normally style your hair and wear makeup to school, do your hair and makeup during this period of readjustment, too.
- Also work toward getting it all done in the same amount of time that you have allotted for getting ready once school starts. If you get in the habit now, you won't feel so rushed later.
- Leave the house. If you're able, leave the house at the same time that you would for school. This will push you to stick to your schedule, and it will get you back into the habit of doing something outside of the home in the morning. Here are some suggestions:
- You could go to the library. This could serve the dual purpose of also helping you freshen up on your Algebra, for instance, or catch up on your summer reading.
- Go to a friend's house who is also re-establishing his/her morning routine. Together you can set off for the day to go to the park, see a movie, go the mall and so forth.
- Sign up for a morning class in your community. Many local art centers, YMCAs, churches and parks departments offer a variety of classes throughout the summer for students to take during breaks.
[Edit]Reinstituting Your School Evening Routine
- Eat dinner at the right time. Over the summer, your eating schedule may have gotten a little wild. So start eating at the time you plan to once you're back in school.
- If you've been consuming a lot of fast food during those lazy summer nights, get back to eating nutritious, well-balanced meals. Healthy foods aren't just better for your body. They also boost brain power.
- To determine what time you will be eating dinner, you'll need to sit down and figure out your evening schedule, looking at things like a) after-school activities, b) how much homework you think you'll have, c) how much time you'll spend preparing for bed, d) how much free time you'd like, e) what time you need to go to bed and f) what the rest of your household's schedule looks like.
- Read in the evenings. Reading at night (reading in general if you haven't for awhile) will get those brain circuits flowing again. This will make studying easier, and it will get you back into the mode of doing homework at night.
- You could also work on things like Sudoku puzzles, crossword puzzles, children's workbooks, flash cards – anything to kick-start returning to an evening routine that includes studying and homework.
- Try to get your schedule and do activities related to your schedule, like finding online Geometry problems. It will actually be more like homework than reading and puzzles, and will also improve your grades for school.
- Prepare for bed. You may have gotten out of the habit of taking that nightly shower or bath, if you take it at night, or even brushing your teeth. Now's the time to start doing these things again regularly. And, as with your morning routine, do them at the same time you plan to do them once school starts.
- This is also a good time to get back into the habit of or create the habit of laying out your clothes for the morning. Doing this will make you feel less rushed in the morning and less stressed overall, especially if you are very particular about what you wear.
- Sticking to a regular routine at night will help you sleep better, because your body will understand that you're preparing for bed.
- Go to sleep on time. Once you have reset your clock, continue going to sleep at the time you've set for yourself, even on the weekends. Resisting all temptations to break your new sleep schedule will be rewarded soon enough.
[Edit]Getting a Good Night's Rest
- Power down before bedtime. Winding down in the evening is equivalent to telling your body that it's time to call it quits for the day. You can't expect it to go from 100 to 0 simply by getting in bed and pulling up the covers. So spend about 30-45 minutes slowly shutting down your brain and body.
- You might do this by taking a hot shower or bath. When you get out, your core body temperature drops, which is a signal to your brain to produce melatonin, your body's natural sleep hormone.
- You might also include a routine like stretching or meditating before bed.
- Other ways to prepare for sleep are by putting away the electronic gadgets and gaming systems and, instead, reading a book, or listening to classical or relaxing music.
- Stay away from caffeine before bed. Caffeine is a stimulant, and while most people associate it with coffee, it's also in tea, chocolate, soda and some pain relievers. Sleep experts recommend avoiding these things for 6 hours before going to sleep.
- This may seem like a really long time, but that's how long it takes for caffeine to leave your bloodstream.
- Avoid rigorous exercise before bed. When you exercise vigorously, your body temperature goes up, and it takes several hours for it to drop to normal levels again. Because lower body temperature is needed for better sleep, don't exercise for 3-4 hours before going to sleep.
- On the flip side, exercising regularly promotes good sleep. The precise mechanism between regular exercise and sleep is still uncertain, but numerous studies on various populations have shown that it works.
- Break electronic insomnia. Turn off the TV, and put away your cell phones, computers and tablets once you're in bed. They not only prevent you from winding down because you're so busy clicking, scrolling, typing, chatting and so forth, but they also trick your body into thinking it's daytime and, therefore, not time to go to bed.
- Here's how it works. These devices emit a type of blue light that mimics natural light, thereby suppressing melatonin levels. When this occurs, your brain tells your body it's not time to sleep; it disrupts your circadian rhythm.
- TVs also emit this light, but the problem is amplified with cell phones, laptops and tablets because they are closer to your face.
- Darken your room. Turn off all lights while you sleep. Your circadian rhythm, or inner clock, is largely regulated by exposure to light and dark, with melatonin secreted in darkness and suppressed in light. Since melatonin induces sleep, the darker your room the better.
- You might also want to dim the lights during those 30-45 minutes that you are powering down before bedtime as a cue to your brain that it's almost time to go to sleep.
- If you live with a roommate or there are lights that you just can't avoid, try wearing an eye mask to block out the light.
- Go to sleep the same time each night. Make sure you stick to your bedtime each night of the week even on weekends. While it will be tempting to stay up late on the weekends, doing so will really throw a wrench in your internal clock and make Monday mornings rather unpleasant.
[Edit]Waking Up Early for School
- Eat dinner 2-3 hours before bedtime. It's significantly easier to wake up early if you've slept well the night before. Eating a lot late at night, though, can make sleep difficult because food takes time to digest. Spicy, garlic-flavored and highly acidic and fatty foods are especially troublesome because they frequently cause heartburn if you lie down too soon after eating them.
- Conversely, hunger can also disrupt sleep. So if you find yourself really hungry before bed, stick to snacking on things like oatmeal, bananas, cereal and milk, yogurt, raw veggies or some popcorn.
- Prep for the next day. One of the reasons so many people hate waking up early is because of that rushed feeling they have when trying to hurriedly get ready and out the door on time. To help avoid some of this, choose and lay out your clothes the night before, prepare your lunch, pack up your homework and books in your satchel or book bag and make sure you have any forms signed that you need for school.
- Lay out your clothes, shoes and accessories where you will put them on – whether that be in the bathroom after you shower or in your bedroom.
- Have your backpack, gym clothes and musical instrument, if you have one, by the door, ready to go.
- Eat a healthy breakfast. Continue with your returning-to-school schedule and eat a hearty breakfast. It will increase your glucose level, get your juices flowing and set a good tone for the rest of your day.
- Make hitting snooze hard. Most of us have done it, probably more times in a row than we'd care to admit. But hitting snooze only makes getting up harder and your mornings ultimately more rushed. So move your alarm – further than arm's reach.
- If you have an extremely hard time waking up, consider putting it across the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off.
- Use more than one alarm. Purchase and then put more than one alarm clock in different places around your room. You might set them to go off at the same time, or you might opt to have them go off at different times, but no more than 2-3 minutes apart. Otherwise, you're apt to get back in bed after turning off the first.
- Buy different types of alarms, so the buzzers sound differently and have different volume levels.
- You could also use your cell phone as long as it has an alarm and is loud enough. Some even allow you to download annoying alarm tones, which might be frustrating but ultimately effective.
- Utilize light to your waking advantage. Since your internal clock responds to light as its wake-up call, you can use it to help awaken yourself even if the sun has yet to rise. And there are some pretty neat gadgets out there that can help.
- For example, there are a number of alarm clocks that help wake you up by slowly increasing light, as if the sun were rising, thus tricking your body to respond and say, “Okay, it's time to get up.” Science has even demonstrated they do, indeed, help rouse people from sleep more easily and quickly, even though the light is artificial.
- There are also lamps you can put by your bed that slowly turn on, simulating the sunrise. Some even offer the opposite effect, simulating a sunset for help in going to sleep.
- Ultimately, however, natural light is the best way to go. It's certainly what our ancestors relied on prior to Edison. Allowing natural light into your room by leaving the blinds or curtains open when you go to sleep is the best jolt to your rhythmic system. Yet because this is often not possible when getting up early enough for school, natural light simulators are nice alternatives.
- Have a cool glass of water on your nightstand to drink as soon as you wake up. It will kick start your metabolism and help you feel more alert.
- Ask your family or a friend for help in waking you up early for school. Perhaps a friend might give you a call in the morning, or your mom might tickle your feet to get you going.
- Alarms are only good if you remember to set them!
- Try shower gels with lemon or peppermint essential oils to give you a boost.
- Remind yourself of the reasons getting up early are important to you. Is it because you don't like to feel rushed? Don't like to be tardy? Like to look pretty? Want to do well in school?
- If you find that something in your routine isn't working, or if you want to add something, thing about how you can change it and work to do so!
- Reward yourself for consistently waking up early. This can also be a great motivator for getting up on time.
- Set the alarm for 15 minutes earlier so you can wake up but get used to it for a while without being late.
- Set more than one alarm, so if you don't get up when the first alarm rings you'll have another one set five minutes later.
- If your phone has an alarm and lets you name your alarms, you could name one “stretch” to remind you to stretch in the morning.
- When you get up and turn your alarm off, don't get back to bed. Try making it a rule that once you are out of bed, you can't go back in.
- ↑ http://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/Pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx
- ↑ [v161270_b01]. 7 October 2021.
- ↑ http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/get-kids-up-for-school
- ↑ http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/when-you-have-trouble-waking-up?printing=true
- ↑ http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/back-school-sleep-tips
- ↑ http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/10-foods-boost-your-brainpower
- ↑ [v161270_b01]. 7 October 2021.
- ↑ http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/health/sleep/become-a-morning-person/
- ↑ http://www.mensfitness.com/weight-loss/success-stories/10-best-ways-get-better-sleep/slide/4
- ↑ [v161270_b01]. 7 October 2021.
- ↑ http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/caffeine-and-sleep
- ↑ http://www.everydayhealth.com/photogallery/goodnightsleep.aspx#08
- ↑ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/28/benefits-exercise-sleep-science_n_3823526.html
- ↑ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-07-08/news/ct-met-night-light-sleep-20120708_1_blue-light-bright-light-steven-lockley
- ↑ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/23/reading-before-bed_n_6372828.html
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- ↑ http://www.everydayhealth.com/photogallery/goodnightsleep.aspx#12
- ↑ http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/negative-effects-eating-before-bed-3027.html
- ↑ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/simple-snacks-better-sleep/
- ↑ http://www.everydayhealth.com/sleep-pictures/tricks-to-waking-up-in-the-morning.aspx#10
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- ↑ http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10000872396390443866404577565781327694346