Sleep schedules ‘vital’ for students heading back to school

Sleep schedules 'vital' for students heading back to school

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Health officials say it’s important to make sure children are ready when that early morning wake up call for school comes.

Officials say it’s one of the most important things you can do to make sure your child is prepared for the school year. Get them accustomed to waking up early, so when that alarm goes off, you know they’ll be ready to start the day.

“Everybody’s relaxed over the summer," said Lindsay Lang, the lead nurse practitioner at the Deaconess Sleep Center. "They let their schedules go kind of willy nilly and it’s hard to get back in gear.”

Lang says that getting an appropriate amount of sleep is vital for students especially during this transition time between summer break and classes starting.

“There’s a lot of research to suggest that kids who don’t get enough sleep really suffer in the classroom," said Lang. "They suffer with their behavior. They suffer with their ability to concentrate, and their grades suffer. So, part of getting good sleep is getting enough sleep, and part of getting enough sleep is getting to bed on time.”

It’s not just getting to sleep on time. Lang says that the lead up to bed time is just as important.

“We have to look at what’s happening before they want to go to bed. What types of things are they doing? Are they playing video games? Are they watching television? Do they have a routine?" said Lang.

In fact, a routine is the number one suggestion Lang gives to parents. Creating that constant pattern can help kids get accustomed to winding down their minds before they drift off to sleep.

“The main thing is keeping it consistent, and then the kids actually start to associate bed time with those activities so their brains start to learn to settle down; keeping the lights down low and just not having that much activity right before bed," Lang said.

Things like taking a hot shower or bath followed up by some time for just talking, reading, or story time with younger kids are ways to create a good environment to promote sleep says Lang. Keep the lights the down low, and follow that routine every day.

The amount of sleep your child should get depends on their age. Lang says high students should shoot for 8.5 to 9 hours of sleep. Elementary and middle school students need 10 to 11 hours and young children need 11 to 12 hours a night.

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