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Better Sleep for Parents During Back to School

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Fall can be a beautiful and exciting time of the year, but for parents of school-age kids, it is also a time of extra stress. 

Getting up early to drop kids off at school, preparing lunches and driving them to ballet or martial arts classes can take a toll on busy parents' time, energy and, frequently, sleep.

Here is how moms and dads can survive the fall transition and still get enough sleep.

Make a plan

Staying organized is key, says Jonathan Alpert, a Manhattan psychotherapist and author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days. The best way to do this is with a detailed to-do list.

"Write out what needs to be done," Alpert recommends. "Include all tasks—such things as preparing lunches for the kids, picking out outfits, etc."

Knowing exactly what to do the next morning will help you feel less anxious when trying to get kids off to school, Alpert says. Anxiety can negatively impact sleep, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Take care of yourself

While investing so much time in your family, it's easy to forget to do the same for one very important member: yourself.

"Make sure you take care of yourself—the healthier you are, the better you'll be able to manage the household," Alpert says.

No matter how busy you are, try to schedule some exercise every day and stick to a healthy diet.

Prepare for sleep

An hour before bed, start creating an environment conducive to sleep: Shut the blinds if street lights flood your room, and only do calming activities, Alpert recommends.

"That means no scary movies, riveting books, or intense conversations," he says.

Finally, stay positive.

"End your day with a positive mindset by thinking of three things from your day that you feel good about and three things you look forward to the next day," Alpert says.

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