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It’s hard to believe it is over, but summer is drawing to a close and for many families, school is starting back up this week. After a summer of staying up late and sleeping in, it can be difficult for children or teenagers to get back into the routine of getting up early for school. Although I don’t have any children of my own, it wasn’t too long ago that I was a student and so I want to offer some tips on the best ways to ease back into the school routine.
Change sleep schedules early
It can be helpful to change your child’s sleep schedule in advance of the start of the school year by gradually making their bed time earlier and earlier during the span of a few weeks. As you make their bedtime earlier you should also have them wake up earlier so that they are still getting the same amount of sleep as they were before. School-aged children are recommended to get 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night and teenagers should be getting 8 to 10 hours.
If school has already started for your child, gradually changing their sleep schedule might not be an option. If your child is having difficulty falling asleep when going to bed earlier, I would suggest lavender essential oil to create a calm sleep environment. The scent of lavender has been known to help reduce restlessness and has sedating effects. The Apothecary Shoppe has an organic lavender essential oil that I currently use in my aromatherapy inhaler and it has a lovely smell. If you are interested in reading about more herbs and essential oils that support sleep, our blog post 24 Natural Sleep Aids for Restful, Rejuvenating Sleep can provide some suggestions.
Protect the immune system
Cold season is approaching and being in a school environment with other children increases your child’s risk of getting sick. Apart from making sure your child has gotten a health checkup and the proper immunizations, there are also some essential oils that are helpful in protecting your child’s health. Take a look at the 5 Essential Oils to Beat Back to School Bugs recommended by ACHS President Dorene Petersen.
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Encourage less screen time
Many children and teenagers spend a significant amount of time in the summer watching television shows, playing video games, or browsing social media. As the school year begins, some of their screen time will need to be replaced by doing homework and participating in extracurriculars. It can help to establish new screen time expectations as the summer comes to an end in order to make the transition easier.
Another issue with screen time is that the blue light from electronics is proven to affect your circadian rhythm and confuse your body by providing artificial light at night. When it gets dark at night, the lack of light usually signals your body to start creating sleep hormones to get ready for sleep. But, by looking at the artificial light of phone or computer screens at night, your body is getting mixed signals and does not know when to prepare for sleep. In addition, blue light lowers your body’s production of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. For these reasons, it is beneficial to reduce screen time, especially as night time approaches.
Create a positive environment
Your child may be feeling nervous or stressed about starting school, so it’s important to create a positive environment where they can communicate these fears. You might also be anxious about your child starting school and your child may feed off of this stress so it is important to appear calm. NPR’s advice on dealing with the first day of school anxieties is to create a positive expectation of how the day will go, and most importantly, to simply listen to your child and problem-solve with them as they begin the new school year.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the Social Media Coordinator of the American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
About American College of Healthcare Sciences
Founded in 1978, ACHS.edu is a Portland, Ore.-based, accredited college offering online, on-campus, and study abroad integrative health education. With undergraduate and graduate degrees, diplomas, certificates, and continuing education units in integrative health, ACHS makes holistic health and wellness education accessible to a diverse community, including healthcare professionals, military students, stay-at-home parents, and lifelong learners. Specializations include aromatherapy, herbal medicine, holistic nutrition, and integrative health. ACHS is a Certified B Corporation® and was named two of 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon 2017 by Oregon Business magazine. ACHS is also accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). In response to our commitment to service members, veterans and military spouses, ACHS has been designated as one of the top 16% of military-friendly institutions in the U.S. for nine years in a row. For more information visit achs.edu.