Summer vacation is winding down and that means the start of the school year in around the corner. For parents, it can be tough getting their kids back into their routines, especially when it comes to re-establishing a sleep schedule. Experts say parents should start the process now.
“It can be a really rough day of school if you’re not practicing in that week before school starts,” said Dr. Theresa Nguyen, the Assistant Chairman of Pediatrics at GBMC. “If you don’t do that until the night before you go back to school, your body is not ready for it. It’s not ready to go back to sleeping at 8 or 9 o’clock at night when you're used to go to sleep at midnight or later.”
Nguyen suggests parents start to re-establish a sleeping schedule one week before school starts. She says starting a bedtime routine can help the process.
“Bedtime routine should take about 30 minutes,” said Nguyen. “You can call it the three B’s or the four B’s. Bath, brush your teeth, reading a book and then bed.”
The right amount of sleep for your child varies depending on their age. Nguyen suggests 10-13 hours for preschoolers 3-5 years old, 9-12 hours for school-aged children 6-12 years old and 8-10 hours for teenagers.
Nguyen also suggests parents make their child’s sleeping space comfortable by minimizing things like stuffed animals from their beds. She also suggests parents make sure their child’s room is cool and at a comfortable temperature. The biggest tip Nguyen recommends for parents is keeping electronics out of the bedroom.
“The use of electronics within the hour of bedtime is detrimental to you falling asleep,” said Nguyen. “The blue lights that are omitted from the screens actually suppresses your body’s ability to secrete melatonin which is the natural chemical that you need to have secreted, so you can fall asleep. “
Studies show that students who get enough sleep tend to have the best chance at excelling in the classroom, performing at their highest academic level and it also helps them become more engaged in after-school activities.