The 'October sleep slump' and how to beat it
Now that summer is officially over and most of us have adjusted to our fall routines, you may have noticed that you and your family are feeling more tired than usual.
According to one pediatric sleep consultant, you could be suffering from the “October sleep slump.”
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“It’s a real thing,” Amanda Jewson explained to CTV’s Your Morning on Tuesday. “Summer is really exciting. We just had a lot of fun, everyone is relaxed, and suddenly we hop into September – it’s a lot of routine all at once so we kind of slump. We’re starting to feel our exhaustion right about now.”
Jewson also said the disappearing sunlight, especially in the mornings, is partly to blame for our sluggish moods.
“There’s a lot less sun,” she said. “When we don’t have sun – we’re such creatures of the sun – when we don’t have the sun, we feel it.”
In order to feel refreshed in the mornings and energized throughout the day, Jewson reveals what the optimal amount of sleep and recommended bedtime for each age group should be now that the seasonal darkness is setting in.
This may be a welcome time of year for young families, according to Jewson. She said parents might find it easier to put their child down for the night during the fall. Babies are also most likely to sleep in later during the darker mornings, Jewson said.
Suggested bedtime: 6:30- 7 p.m.
Children (4 -10 years old):
Jewson said that children in this age group require anywhere from 10 to 13 hours of sleep nightly. She said a lot of children heading off to kindergarten will be missing their daily nap for the first time and this can affect their sleeping habits.
Suggested bedtime: Aim for an earlier bedtime of 6:30 p.m. (especially for children in kindergarten)
Children (10 years or older):
Staring at a screen before bed can have a major impact on the quality of sleep for children in this age group, according to Jewson. She recommends prohibiting screens approximately one to two hours before bedtime.
“Screen time affects all of us, but this is the age where screens start creeping in to our kids’ bedrooms so we have phones, tablets, iPads,” she said. “Get those out of the bedroom, have a curfew.”
Suggested bedtime: No screens after 8 p.m. and bedtime at 9-10 p.m.
Jewson said that teenagers require no less than nine hours of sleep per night and they should be allowed to go to bed a little later because they don’t start producing melatonin – the body’s sleep hormone – until later in the evening making it harder for them to fall asleep.
Suggested bedtime: Make sure they’re getting nine hours of sleep a night and allow them to sleep in no more than two hours later than their regular wake time on the weekends.
Jewson advises adults to “power down” an hour before bedtime, which means no electronics, no exercise, and calming activities only. She also suggests investing in a sun rise clock, which replicates the sun by gradually lighting the bedroom 20 to 40 minutes before a scheduled wake up time.
Suggested bedtime: Adults should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.