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9/14/23 blog post

getting back into a healthy sleep routine

Heading back to school is not easy on anyone especially students. According to the CDC, 78% of high schoolers and 34% of kids are not getting enough sleep on school nights. Not having enough sleep can lead to behavior and learning problems, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and mental health problems. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) explains that when kiddos get good sleep, "they are more likely to look, feel and act their best, which allows them to stay focused and alert in the classroom, on the field and in their extracurriculars.”  

There are many interventions you can do at home to help your student be successful in school and extracurricular activities. At Dayton Children's we encourage all students to practice healthy sleep hygiene. One of the most important things for healthy sleep hygiene is having a consistent bed time routine. The AASM recommends that children between three and five years need 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps), those between six and 12 years need nine to 12 hours of sleep, and teenagers ages 13 to 18 need eight to 10 hours of sleep.

In addition to ensuring your student is getting adequate sleep time there are a few other recommendations that you at home can follow to ensure their success at school:

  • Transition to the new bedtime and wake time by gradually shifting bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night and wake time 15 minutes earlier each morning to get on the right schedule.
  • Avoid caffeine after school. The caffeine in sodas, coffee and energy drinks can make it harder for students to fall asleep at night.
  • Restrict screen time before bed. Encourage your child to disconnect from all electronic devices at least 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime to help them wind down for the night.
  • Keep electronics in a different room. To help avoid temptation, leave all devices outside of the bedroom and use an alarm clock instead of a phone for waking up in the morning.
  • Follow a relaxing nighttime routine. Establish a relaxing nighttime routine, which may include journaling, reading or taking a warm bath or shower.
  • Make the bedroom quiet and cool. Keep the bedroom quiet, dark and a little cool to ensure a comfortable sleeping environment.

If your child is struggling to get good sleep at night, there may be an underlying sleep condition. Click here for more information about sleep medicine at Dayton Children's Hospital. 

doctor Khalid Safi
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Khalid Safi, MD

division chief sleep medicine
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