Experts note importance of back-to-school sleep routine

It’s important for parents to know how much sleep their children actually need.
Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 3:52 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2023 at 4:49 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The summer days of sleeping in and letting the weather decide your daily plans are almost over. With the school year only days away, it’s time for students to start getting back into a routine. Back-to-school routines should start with a shift in your child’s sleep schedules.

It’s important for parents to know how much sleep their children actually need.

“For preschool children, it is recommended to get 10 to 13 hours of sleep at night for our school aged children, nine to 12 hours asleep and for teenagers closer to eight to 10 hours asleep,” Nurse Practitioner in the Sleep Lab at Gundersen Health System Erica Neumeister said.

Neumeister said, as soon as you can, start getting them into bed at night and waking them up in the morning just 15 minutes earlier than they normally would. Each day, set that time 15 minutes earlier until they’re up at the time they need to wake up for school.

When they wake up, establish a morning routine. You can even time out activities like brushing your teeth and eating breakfast. This ensures your child knows exactly how long they have to get ready for school in the morning. Similarly, create a bedtime routine at night.

“About an hour before bedtime, trying to limit any use of electronics, TVs, computers, telephones, gaming devices, all those can emit blue rays and suppress our body’s own natural ability to release melatonin and make us tired,” Neumeister said.

But what happens if your child is struggling to fall asleep?

“If you really are having a hard time getting your child to get to bed you know, if they’re still up after 20, 30 minutes, then getting up and not making them forcefully stay in the bed. Do an activity that’s quiet until they look like they’re tired.” Neumeister said.

To get your kids excited about going back to school, get them involved with organizing their school supplies and setting up a homework space inside your home! Neumeister said this should ideally be outside of their bedroom or on their bed as that space should be saved for sleep alone.

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