What time does the bell ring? According to the CDC, 1 in 5 middle and high schools start the school day before 8:30AM, which is the recommended start time.
Starting later means students can get the sleep they need—8.5 to 9.5 hours a night.
Sleep is one of the most important things for school-aged kids, and it’s important for adults too. It often tends to be something that isn’t enforce very well. We all thrive on a routine, and school should be the same way.
Here are a few tips from doctors who treat patients using LiveHealth Online to help improve sleep in your household:
- Set a nighttime bedtime and stick to it, this is the easiest way to make sure your kids get the sleep they need.
- Create a ritual that you do prior to lights out that will help you body and mind relax. Encourage reading before bed, or listening to relaxing, quiet music. Gentle soundscapes of the ocean, running streams or classical music CAN help relax kids.
- Keep the TV out of their bedroom (and yours!) Studies have shown that a TV in a room of a school-aged child is NOT GOOD for them. If your child had one over the summer, do your best to move the TV out of the room for the school year.
- Shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Teens can use more than this, but often won’t get it during the week because of sports, afterschool activities and homework.
- Once you know what the school day will bring, sit down with your student and make some plans. After a brief break when they get home, they should try to knock out some homework before dinner so that they are not too tired after their meal.
What happens if your child doesn’t get enough sleep? There can be inefficient retention of facts taught in the classroom, irritability, and inability to reason and calculate problems. Social interactions can also suffer—lack of sleep extends beyond the classroom.
Even though you can’t change the time your kids start school, you can help influence their habits to help them get the most sleep possible.
And don’t forget, bedtime isn’t the only thing that influences sleeping patterns. Kids should eat a high protein breakfast, which has been associated with better test scores during school and less absenteeism and falling asleep.