With only a matter of days left of summer break, the start of school is right around the corner and sleeping in will soon be a thing of the past. But how do we get our little ones, teens and ourselves back on schedule?
The trick, according to Parkland Health pediatricians, is routine. A sleep routine that is. And now is the time to start.
“A good sleep routine for your child is imperative for success in the classroom and getting your kids back into a sleep schedule is a gradual process so this effort needs to start well before the school year,” explains Trayce Robinson, MD, a pediatrician at Parkland’s deHaro-Saldivar Health Center. “Start by having them go to bed 15 minutes earlier and waking 15 minutes earlier, increasing gradually leading up to the school year.”
According to Dr. Robinson, a good bedtime routine starts an hour before bedtime and can consist of:
- Eating a nutritious dinner, not too soon before bedtime.
- Ending the evening with a quiet activity, such as reading or bath time.
- Shutting off all screens. Blue light from phones, tablets and TV keeps us and our kids up at night.
- Make sure to avoid sugar and caffeine before bedtime. Water and milk are better choices for a good night’s sleep.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adequate sleep contributes to a student’s overall health and well-being, positively impacting their performance at school. Students should get the proper amount of sleep at night to help them stay focused, improve concentration and improve academic performance.
But how much sleep is the proper amount? Dr. Robinson says it varies by age group. Preschoolers need 12 hours of sleep, grade school 10 hours, and high schoolers need at least eight hours of shut eye.
Children and adolescents who do not get enough sleep have a higher risk for many health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, poor mental health and injuries, according to the CDC. They are also more likely to have attention and behavior problems, which can contribute to poor academic performance in school.