Cleveland Clinic sleep specialist provides tips on how to get your child on a school sleep schedule

CLEVELAND - Summer days have slipped away and it's time to get back on that school schedule.

In the days before school starts, Cleveland Clinic Sleep Specialist Dr. Sally Ibrahim says enforcing a wake up time and a bedtime will help set a healthy pattern.

"The parent who sets the bedtime is more likely to have a child who has enough sleep, so really enforcing bedtime is very, very important in the school year," Dr. Ibrahim said.

How much sleep do kids need?

Dr. Ibrahim says younger children need ten to eleven hours a night and adolescents need eight and a half to nine and a half hours.

She says most kids are not getting enough sleep, which can hurt academic performance.

"Children on average who get sufficient sleep compared to children who do not get sufficient sleep tend to do better academically all the way around. Children who don't get enough sleep tend to behave like they have ADHD, hyperactive, attention problems, focus."

For today's parents, limiting access to electronic devices at night can be a big battle. Many kids have to do homework on their computers; they're texting friends, on social media, watching videos.

Looking at the blue light coming from those screens right before bed will affect the ability to fall asleep.

"It dampens our natural hormone which really peaks at night - melatonin - exposure to light, especially blue wavelength - is very strong at dampening that signal that helps us go to sleep," Dr. Ibrahim added.

Following a daily sleep schedule, getting regular exercise, a good diet and avoiding caffeine in the late afternoon and evening will all help your child feel better and perform better in school.


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