Experts: Now is the time to adjust your child’s sleep schedule

Consistency is key when it comes to resting the body, according to sleep specialists.
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 4:48 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WIFR) - Energy, mood and focus are all affected by sleep patterns. That’s why experts say sleep routines, especially for kids, is so important.

Sleep gives the brain and body time to recharge and is essential for both the mental and physical health of kids-and adults, according to Dr. Rachna Tiwari, a pediatric sleep specialist with UW Health.

“Teens and pre-teens especially, spend the summer months staying up late and getting up at different times every day, and it can be a challenge to get back into a regular sleep schedule,” said Dr. Tiwari.

To ease these challenges, experts suggest parents spend the weeks leading up to the first day of school adjusting wake-up and bedtime in 15 minute increments every few days to reach the desired sleep schedule.

“This will make the morning routine during that first week of school much less jarring – for the entire family,” she said. “It will also mean that your child is fully awake and prepared to learn when school begins,” said Dr. Tiwari.

Adjusting to a new sleep schedule may be challenging, but if it stays consistent, it will stick.

“A fixed pre-bedtime routine, it’s a good thing,” Tiwari said. “About 30 minutes before bed, try to have this pre-bedtime routine, which can be very simple. Changing clothes, brushing teeth, reading books or doing some quite activities, but definitely staying away from electronics like TV, computers, cellphones. The blue light that gets emitted from these devices affects the hormone called melatonin which is required to fall asleep and stay asleep.”

According to the National Sleep Foundation, school-age children need about nine to 11 hours of sleep, teenagers need eight to ten hours of sleep, and adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

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