Time to Adjust Children’s Sleep Schedule for Coming School Year

Back to school, means a return to school bedtimes. Sleep experts, like Beaumont Hospital’s Gary Trock, M.D., are encouraging parents to ease their children back into a school sleep schedule about two weeks before classes resume. Most area students will head back to school on the Tuesday after Labor Day.

“It’s important that students have a period of 10-14 days to readjust. To be effective, it must be a gradual process,” says Dr. Trock, director of pediatric neurology and co-director of Sleep Evaluation Services at Beaumont, Royal Oak.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine offers the following tips to ensure children and teens get a restful night’s sleep:

  • Follow a consistent bedtime routine.
  • Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.
  • Make the bedroom quiet, dark and a little bit cool. Do not have computers or televisions in a bedroom.
  • Get up the same time every morning.
  • Avoid foods or drinks that contain caffeine, as well as any medication that has a stimulant, before bedtime.
  • Don’t go to bed hungry, but don’t eat a big meal before bedtime.
  • Avoid any rigorous exercise within six hours of bedtime.

“After a long summer, most students need to reset their biological clocks. A lack of sleep can adversely affect performance, attention span and physical health,” says Trock. “Parents need to make sure their children go to bed earlier each night. Sunlight exposure each morning is important too.”

Trock also cautions parents not to let their children sleep in on the weekend. This will undo their best attempts to reset their internal clocks for the coming school year.

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