Friday, August 24, 2018

Students Aren't Getting Enough Sleep on School Nights. Here's How to Change That

Author: Dr. Martha Whyte, Region 7 Medical Director

Another summer has come and gone, and with that school is back in session. Now, it's vital for kids to get in a routine of getting to bed early enough to get proper rest.

Adequate sleep contributes to a student’s health and well-being. Getting the proper amount of sleep at night is important. It helps students stay focused, improves concentration and improves academic performance.

Children and adolescents who do not get enough sleep have a higher risk for many health problems. These problems include obesity, diabetes, poor mental health and other injuries. Lack of a good night’s sleep also leads to poor academic performance because of lower attention spans and more behavior problems.

The amount of sleep someone needs depends on their age. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends the following:
  •  Children ages 6 – 12 years old should get between 9 and 12 hours of sleep every 24 hours.
  •  Adolescents ages 13 – 18 years old should get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep every 24 hours.
The 2015 national and state Youth Risk Behavior Surveys, a CDC study, shows that most students aren’t getting enough sleep. On school nights, 70 percent of high school students aren't getting enough sleep.

Parents can model and encourage healthy sleeping habits for their children. Everyone should have a regular bedtime and rise time, even on weekends. Adolescents with bedtimes usually get more sleep than those who don't have them.

Another suggestion is to dim lighting. Room lighting or light from electronics can keep you awake. Adolescents exposed to more light in the evening are less likely to get enough sleep.

Finally, put in place a media or screen time curfew. Technology use may also contribute to late bedtimes. Look at how your kids use their devices and consider limiting or banning altogether their use of technology use after a certain time, or just remove the devices from the bedroom.

Proper sleeping habits are crucial to academic performance. Help your children recharge with enough sleep to power them through the next day and on to success.

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