Bismarck News

Getting Your Kids on a Back to School Sleep Schedule

Bismarck - After the long summer days turn into late nights, getting back into the swing of school can be tough.
According to one sleep expert, now is the time to start getting that schedule back on track.

Our line of work has up early and active, but on those days when we haven't gotten enough sleep it can be hard to focus

This rings even more true for youngsters in the classroom.
Here's why parents should consider putting their kids to bed earlier, starting now.

"Yeah, it's hard, we haven't started yet!" says Andrea Pfennig, Bismarck parent.

As families prepare for another school year, getting the kids to bed before the sun goes down can be quite the task.

"We've gone on a lot of vacations this year, so we've had a lot of late nights where we've stayed up until maybe 10:00, and then everyone sleeps in really late, which is nice... but that's not going to work for the school year," says Pfennig.

"Kids do stay up later in the summer time. So to start working on that 2 weeks, putting them to bed a half hour earlier, just go small, and then waking them up a half hour earlier than they were getting up, until you get them to that time that you know they're going to need for school," says Nikki Mills, Director of Sleep Services, Sanford Health.

Nikki Mills is a sleep expert at Sanford Health.
She says there are a few things you can do to make bedtime a little easier.

"Keep those electronics, tvs, all of that out of the bedroom, and have them quit using it, at least an hour before they're going to sleep. Go to the books, the reading together, things like that," says Mills.

What kids eat and drink can also have an effect on how they sleep at night.

"They shouldn't have caffeine 6 hours before bed," says Mills.

She says at 5 years old and younger, kids should get 10-12 hours each night.
Teens and kids older than 5 should get 9-11 hours.

"Their grades are better, they have better memory retention, they are less emotional," says Mills.

"I think starting next week, we'll start trying to go to bed a lot earlier than we have been all summer long," says Pfennig.

She says the best way to know if you and your kids are getting the right amount, is the "rested upon awakening" feeling.

"Sleep just fits right in there to nutrition and wellness," says Mills.

Mills says it's important for families to remember that sleep is the last thing you should put on the back burner.

"Educating their kids, and being educated themselves, so that kids understand that they're going to feel better. That it's healthy for them."


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