Sleep management tips for students heading back to school

File Photo: MGN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Many mid-state schools are back to school this week, which means parents will be wrestling with their kids to get them to bed on time.

Blake Bratcher, of Nashville, has a two-year-old daughter heading back to pre-k this week. He says she's a great sleeper, thanks to mom's routine, but even for this toddler summers can throw a wrench in the schedule.

"It’s very hard, especially when she stays with the grandparents, they like to keep her up a little later it throws off the schedule for days after that,” says Bratcher. "Sleep is much needed in our house and when she doesn’t get it, we pay the price.”

The Bratcher's aren't the only ones trying to get back on track, with so many mid-state schools heading back this week.

Dr. Tobi Amosun is a pediatrician at Academy Children's Clinic and says ten to 11 hours of sleep is what's recommended for younger kids, and many of them aren't getting it.

"In younger kids, it manifests in behavior issues, attention problems, there have been lots of studies that poor sleep leads to problems with memory. That's one of the reasons pediatricians are so adamant kids need to get enough sleep,” says Dr. Amosun.

She says first: keep it consistent, and try your best to do bedtime at the same time every night. Also, practice good "sleep hygiene."

A cool, dark room, noise machine, and no electronics make the best sleeping conditions.

And third, give them a reason to want to go to sleep.

"For some of the younger kids, doing things they'll look forward to before they go to bed, whether it’s sitting on mom and dad's lap and reading a book, or listening to music before bed.”

And as for the “magic bedtime," Amosun tells parents to work backward. That means take the time they need to be up in the morning, and go back ten hours.

So if your child needs to be up at six to make a seven o' clock bus, bedtime should be at 8 p.m. Using the weekend to “catch up” is not recommended, but getting extra sleep is better than not enough.

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