We’re fast approaching back-to-school time. Over the summer kids tend to get more rest even though days are longer. Mornings move more slowly, there is space for a nap, and there’s no homework to keep our kids up late. But as we shift to the school year, sleep can be a big problem again. So what’s new in the world of children, education, and sleep?
The AASM Has Big Plans
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has released a new paper that details their recommendations for improving sleep in America. During the school year, 1/3 of kids 12 and under and ¾ of teens don't get enough sleep at night.
To fix this, the AASM wants all US school start times delayed to 8:30 am by the year 2030. They’d also like to see more training on sleep issues for medical students. Too many pediatricians have very little experience with sleep medicine. We need every provider to be ready to have conversations with parents about sleep.
Can’t Get the Kids to Sleep? Mindfulness Might Help!
A new study found that having mindfulness training in school twice a week caused children to increase their sleep time by 74 minutes a night, with an extra 24 minutes of REM. This is huge because good sleep means better learning and better emotional control.
Students who didn’t get the training LOST nearly an hour of sleep over the same period. That means that mindfulness gave kids 2 hours of extra sleep over the baseline. The training focused on relaxation and breathing exercises and helped increase sleep by:
- Improving breathing
- Reducing anxiety
- Giving kids tools to unwind and fall asleep more quickly, or to fall back asleep if they woke up.