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Back to school sleep: How to get your child off a summer sleep schedule

So how do you turn your kid’s sleep schedule back to “school” mode? Dr. Stringer says that consistency is key.

School is quickly approaching and many students are still in “summer mode”. From staying up late to napping during the day, kids aren’t on a schedule that’s conducive to the time constraints of a school day.

EDIT: During the pandemic, with virtual learning more prevalent than ever, self-accountability and being bell rested is more important as students complete their work from home. A healthy sleep schedule can help students start each day with a clear mind.

WATCH: PANDEMIC AND MENTAL HEALTH FEARS IMPACTING MILLIONS OF AMERICANS

We met with Dr. Kelli Stringer, a Pediatric Hospitalist at Huntsville Hospital, who spoke with us about the importance of sleep for students. She says it’s not just a crucial need for students, but for parents and teachers as well. 

“Sleep is absolutely essential for everyone. It allows us to have a healthy immune system, better focus, better behavior and academic performance for children. It’s just all around very important for everyone.”

So how do you turn your kid’s sleep schedule back to “school” mode? Dr. Stringer says that consistency is key. Start your child on a sleep routine as quickly as you can, even if classes haven’t started yet. It makes it much easier to transition into the school year. 

She says, “Even on weekends or summer vacation or times where you could be maybe a little more laxed and there are later ‘wake times’… try to be consistent with that routine and if you get off of it, get right back on.”

Dr. Stringer tells us that the lack of a good night sleep can have more of an impact than you’d imaging. She shares, “It’s not only be shown to have an impact on behavior and mental health, but also in mental health. Hypertension, obesity, all those things are affected by how much sleep we get as children and adults.”

Her strongest advice? Make getting enough sleep a family priority. Your family will be healthier and happier for it! She says “If you model those good behaviors for children and make it a family event, then it makes it a lot easier.”

Dr. Stringer also recommends making sure your children turn off their electronic devices at least an hour before bed to ensure they get a good night’s sleep. 

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