Making the sleep transition from summer to school

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's back to school time for students all over WAVE Country, and that means it's back to a more regular sleep schedule, or at least it should according to sleep experts.

Clinical/Sleep Psychologist Sarah Honaker PhD, CBSM says insufficient sleep is a problem for kids all year long.

"School-aged children (6-12) need 10-11 hours," says Honaker. "Adolescents need 9 hours sleep." And Honaker adds, many students are not getting that much needed sleep.

Insufficient sleep can affect academic performance and mood. In teens, it affects decision-making and driving ability.

Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to mental illness, learning and attention problems, driving accidents and weight gain.

And according to Honaker, changing bedtimes can make sleep problems worse.

"When the school year starts, kids may not be tired at their school bedtime," Honaker says. "Putting a child to bed before they are tired can cause sleep problems, increase bedtime anxiety and lead to bedtime behavior problems." 

Honaker has these tips for parents to make the transition from summer to school sleep patterns:

  •  Set a sleep schedule to allow your child sufficient sleep.
  • Transition gradually, at a rate of 15-30 minutes per day.
  • Start by waking you child earlier and earlier each day and adjusting the bedtime accordingly.
  • Upon awakening, have your child sit in a sunny part of the house for 30 minutes.
  • Keep a regular routine (vary by only one hour on weekends).
  • Avoid electronics within an hour of bedtime.
  • Limit caffeine six hours before bed.

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