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How to get kids' sleep schedules back on track before school

Posted at 2:34 PM, Aug 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-07 13:01:41-04

From getting school supplies to getting in routine, many parents may be concerned about their kids’ sleep habits going into the new school year.

Doctors recommend to get your child in the habit of their desired sleep schedule two weeks before the school year starts.

“You want to work their bed time and their wake up time perhaps 15 minutes earlier everyday until they're right at the schedule you think they should be at based on the amount of sleep they should need,” Saint Luke's sleep specialist, Dr. Jason Graff said.

Children between the ages of four and 12 should get about 10 hours of sleep.

Teenagers should get about 8.5 and 9.5 hours, because inadequate sleep could have a deeper impact at school depending on their age.

“Most adults and older teenagers will be sleepy, so they might fall asleep in class. They'll be less energetic, less attentive to what's going on in school,” Graff said.

Graff said for elementary school children, the more common reaction is not for them to fall asleep, but to be hyperactive.

“Hyperactivity is a way that these younger kids combat being tired or sleepy. So your kid may have behavioral problems at school, not do as well in school if they're sleep deprived,” he said.

And with all the technology today, it’s recommended to unplug and unwind an hour before bedtime.

“It can cause a lot of insomnia, not just from the light they omit but most of the activities that you would do on phone or a tablet are interactive,” Graff said. “So they require you to interact with the device, which can cause you some insomnia as well.”

Doctors also urge children to stay away from caffeine, especially after lunch time so it won’t interrupt their sleep schedule later.

Doctors say the biggest thing for parents is to be consistent and model what you’re telling your children.