Getting onto school-time sleep schedules

August 21, 2012 7:37:30 AM PDT
The new school year starts soon. And if the kids in your house are still staying up late, it's time to begin adjusting their schedules.

Sleep experts say the adjustments should start by mid-August, or about 2 weeks before that first day of class. That allows for a smoother transition.

Start by getting the kids to bed earlier, and UP earlier - moving the time by 15 minutes every few days.

Otherwise, sleep experts say children will seem jet-lagged going into the school year.

They say this is also a good time to get your family onto a good pre-bedtime pattern.

Dr. Jyoti Krishna, a pediatric sleep specialist, says, "Lights should be dim. Screen time should be reduced. So, the light shining in the eyes and engaging in media may be more exciting and may delay bedtime."

Sleep deprivation in children often shows up as hyperactivity.

Dr. Krishna says rewards may help give smaller kids more motivation to stick to the sleep schedule.

Remember, kids up to 12 need 10 to 11 hours of sleep a night, with teenagers needing 8 and a half to 9 hours a night.

Sleep deficits do build up in kids, and can't be erased by "catching up" on the weekends, say the sleep specialists.


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