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Back to School Sleep Schedules

By Expert Sleep Medicine on August 12, 2019 in Sleep
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back to school bus

Start Rolling Back Your Children’s Wake Time Now

For many kids around the Louisville metro, the long summer of sleeping in, staying up late and enjoying leisurely mornings is coming to a rapid close. The sleep doctors at Expert Sleep Medicine (ESM) recommend parents start to adjust their children’s bedtime and wake up time gradually a few weeks before school. This gradual change helps ensure success in school and promote a healthy lifestyle.

“Start adjusting your child’s sleep schedule by 30 minutes every 4-5 days to align with the wake time they will need during the school year,” said Dr. Robert Karman. Dr. Karman is a board-certified sleep specialist who sees patients in the Louisville Metro area. “Without an intervention, changing abruptly on the first day of school may take weeks to a month to optimize their circadian rhythm. It’s an important time to get your kids back on track.”

Using this program will promote better wakefulness, performance, behavior, learning, and reduces teenage motor vehicle accidents. To encourage optimal health, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends:

School Age Recommended Sleep Hours per 24 Hour Period
Preschoolers: 3 – 5 10 – 13 hours (including naps)
Grade-schoolers: 6 – 12 9 – 12 hours
Teenagers: 13 – 18 8 – 10 hours

Some tips for helping children fall and stay asleep during this transition period:

Remove electronics from bedtime and the bedroom

During the summer late nights in front of the TV or video game systems might have been the norm. The blue light from these phones and tablets can promote wakefulness. Now that school is starting back up, it’s time to get back in the swing of things by turning off devices before bedtime.

Follow a consistent bedtime routine

We recommend adults and children form a regular bedtime routine to help wind down for bedtime. Setting a specific time, giving a warm bath, reading a story are all important parts of getting your child to bed.

Keep bedrooms cool (68-69 degrees)

When promoting a healthy sleep environment, we recommend keeping the bedrooms cool at 68-69 degrees.

Many studies have shown that getting enough sleep can improve academic performance, decrease car accidents in drivers, increase high school graduation percentage, improve test-taking skills, and improve behavior in adolescents and teens. There has also been shown to be less depression in kids with improved quality of sleep. Start adjusting their schedule tonight to help them start the school year off right.

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