Doctors advise on how to get students into back-to-school sleep routine

Back-to-school time is quickly approaching and now is the time to practice bed times.

Doctors recommend easing grade schoolers in to an earlier wake time to get back on a school sleep schedule.
“You want to start early with getting them back to a good sleep routine so I would say one or two weeks before school starts,” Dr. Kara Carter, pediatrician with Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, said.
Dr. Carter said teen’s reluctance to get up for school doesn’t mean they’re lazy. She says the bodies of adolescents from about age 12 to 18 are wired to operate on a delayed sleep cycle.

“They have a difficult time going to bed typically before 11 p.m. It has something to do with their sleep cycle, their circadian rhythm. At that age group, it’s just against what their sleep cycle is trying to do,” she said.

Since teenagers require more sleep than adults, usually between eight to 10 hours a night, Carter stands behind moving start school times later, but since that’s not a current option, a sleep routine is the best you can do.

“The main tips is avoiding TV and video games a good hour before your bed time,” Carter said. “The artificial light is really too stimulating for their brain.”
The longer they’re up, the more you could be looking at sleep deprivation, leading to irritability, impaired concentration, difficulty staying awake and difficulty focusing.

“It can impact academic performance and test scores. Also, it can cause mood and behavior problems so we even see signs of depression and anxiety linked to chronic sleep deprivation so it’s really important and imperative that they get enough sleep,” Carter said.

Doctors also said teens who don’t get enough shut-eye are more prone to micro-lapses while driving, which can lead to more accidents.

Keeping your kid’s schedule free of non-essential activities, allowing them enough time to complete homework and still get to bed at a reasonable time will also help them get a healthy amount of shut-eye.