In today’s Your Health First: After sleeping in and staying up late all summer, it’s time for kids to get back on a routine sleep schedule. CHI St. Alexius Nurse Practitioner Kristy Weigum says it’s best to do it gradually, rather than making an abrupt change the night before school starts. If school is still a week out in your household, she says now’s the time to start.
Once you’ve established a bedtime based on when they’ll wake up every day, start putting them to bed a little earlier each night. If your child goes to bed at 11 p.m. in the summer but they’ll need to start getting to bed at 9 p.m., have them start going to bed 15 minutes earlier and getting up in the morning 15 minutes earlier, until you hit a 9 p.m. bedtime and a 6 a.m. wake time, for example.
“The problem is, is when you make a lot of abrupt changes, that they could have some effects on their daytime performance. I mean, so they could be sleepy, tired, fatigued. They could have a hard time staying awake during school. They might retain some of this information that they’re teaching them or have to recall it. So I mean, it would be better if you could do this gradually, rather than jumping in on it,” the Sleep Specialist shared.
She says school-age children ages 13 to 18 need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep. For kids 12 and under, it’s more like 9 to 12 hours.
Renee Cooper Reporting