As kids head back to school, it’s important to ensure they continue to get adequate sleep every night. Current medical recommendations are 7-9 hours per night, although there is some individual variability.
Although catch- up sleep on weekends is helpful, having a regular pattern of sleep provides the greatest benefits. These benefits include:
- A decreased chance of obesity in children
- Greater mental alertness and concentration during the day
- Easier mood regulation
According to a research study conducted by Dr. Reut Gruber “Healthy sleep is essential for supporting alertness and other key functional domains required for academic success. Sleep must be prioritized, and sleep problems must be eliminated.” In the study even a small increase or decrease in sleep had a direct impact on behavior and alertness.
These strategies can help control when kids go to bed and when they get up:
- Ensure there is adequate physical activity each day to burn off energy and calories
- Have set meal times and stick to them. Try to leave 2 hours between dinner and bedtime so there is enough time to digest food
- Turn off the TV and other stimulating electronics at least 1 hour before bedtime
- Don’t smoke in the home. Kids exposed to second hand smoke have higher levels of sleep disturbance
- Keep daily wake-up times as consistent as possible
- Cut out caffeine and high sugar products in kids’ diets
Explain to kids why sleep is important, and how it helps them feel and perform better during the day. Adults should model healthy sleep behaviors for kids, with the added reward of reaping many of the same benefits.
The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment rendered by a licensed medical professional. It is essential that you discuss with your primary care provider any symptoms or medical problems that you may be experiencing.
An official American Thoracic Society statement: the importance of healthy sleep: Recommendations and future priorities, Sutapa Mukherjee et al., American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, doi: 10.1164/rccm.201504-0767ST, published online 15 June 2015.
Gruber,R. PhD “Impact of Sleep Extension and Restriction on Children’s Emotional Lability and Impulsivity” Pediatrics October 15th, 2012. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-0564)
Karen Spruyt, Dennis L. Molfese, David Gozal. “Sleep Duration, Sleep Regularity, Body Weight, and Metabolic Homeostasis in School-aged Children.” Pediatrics, Published online 24 January 2011