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Back to School Sleep Tips


With children and teens heading back to school, it’s a good time to prioritize sleep as people adjust to new schedules. Positive sleep health can help improve academic performance and reduce stress.

Establish a Sleep and Wake Schedule: Setting times for sleep and wake will help children and teens adhere to a regular sleep schedule. Children and teens have different sleep requirements: 

  • Children: Preschoolers (3-5 years) 10 to 13 hours
  • School-age kids (6-13 years) 9 to 11 hours 
  • Teenagers: (14-17 years) 8 to 10 hours 

Model Good Habits: Reinforce the benefits of sleep for your family by modeling good sleep habits to help children and teens understand the importance of sleep:

  • Spend time in natural light. Whether outdoors or inside, bright daylight helps you feel alert. 
  • Limit use of electronics before bed. Turn off electronics an hour before bed and keep your room dark, cool, comfortable, and ready for sleep.
  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity increases your drive to sleep at night as well as reduces stress and improves mood.

Watch this National Institutes of Health (NIH) Q&A with National Sleep Foundation Chair Dr. Lauren Hale on the science of sleep and teens. Dr. Hale’s presentation begins at 8:17.

Cover image from the Facebook Live Science of Sleep and Teens

Heading back to school can be an exciting but also stressful time. As part of NSF’s Bright Schools® campaign, NSF is committed to adolescent health and making sure students get the sleep they need. Set kids up for success by prioritizing healthy sleep habits for everyone.