Summer is almost over. Time to get the kids ready for school! Rush out to the store and get those school supplies. Grab new gym shoes, polos for school, new pens and portfolios. But don’t forget about getting your child’s bedtime back to normal. Over the summer, a lot of kids have the luxury of staying up late and sleeping in. They are out with their friends, playing until sunset and coming in last minute to grab a bite to eat before heading to bed and winding down.
But when school starts, they need to be prepared for the school bell to ring between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. They need to be at their best when the bell rings, not only for academic success, but physical health as well. This early start time often presents a battle between parents and their kids, in trying to get them in bed earlier.
Here are some tips to get them on schedule:
1. Don’t wait until the last minute. Start establishing an earlier bedtime at least 10 days before school begins.
2. Children often need more sleep than adults, sometimes up to 10 hours per night, so make sure they are getting enough sleep for their age.
3. Get all gadgets out of their bedroom. That includes TV, computer, cell phone, tablets, and music players. Each additional gadget is associated with reduced sleep. This also goes for adults, by the way.
4. Make sure your kids have time to wind down before bedtime, and establish a good routine (i.e. brushing teeth, flossing, getting into bed).
5. Make sure your children aren’t drinking any caffeine within eight hours of bedtime. This includes teas, coffee, and soda.
6. Try your best to keep the same sleep schedule on Sunday nights so that kids don’t revert to their old habits and make Sunday night tough for the whole family.
7. Make sure their bedroom is quiet, comfortable and dark. They should not have to rely on anything to help them fall asleep.
8. Seek help from a professional if you are having a tough time, or your child develops any other symptoms such as snoring, or gasping and choking in their sleep.
Children who are sleep deprived will perform worse than their peers on standardized exams. They report more headaches, more sick days, and more episodes of dozing off in class. It is important for their academic future to be alert and ready for school.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Graef or one of our other board certified sleep physicians, please call Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A. at 704-295-3000 or visit www.goodsenses.com for more information on our services.
Benjamin P. Graef, DO