CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – During summer vacation, many children grow accustomed to staying up later at night and sleeping in longer in the mornings. It can be difficult for them to adjust to a new school schedule, but medical experts agree that healthy sleep habits will help children perform better in the classroom.
“During the school year, many children are busier. Homework, sports, and extracurricular activities create extra demands for their time,” explained Sandra Mosely, director of the Chambersburg Hospital Sleep Center. “It’s crucial that parents can help establish a bedtime routine that provides the opportunity for their children to get adequate sleep at night.”
According to the National Sleep Foundation, school-aged children (ages 5-12) need between 10 and 11 hours of sleep. Children of all ages should have a consistent bed time and wake up time as well as a relaxing 20 to 30 minute bedtime routine.
Children also tend to become more interested in TV, computers, the media, and the internet, as well as caffeine products during the school year. Watching TV close to bedtime has been associated with bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep, anxiety, and sleeping fewer hours.
Children who experience poor or inadequate sleep can have mood swings, behavioral problems including hyperactivity, and cognitive problems that impact their ability to learn in the classroom.
A few sleep tips for school-aged children can help ensure they are getting adequate sleep on school nights:
- Teach your child about healthy sleep habits
- Continue to emphasize the need for a regular and consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine.
- Make the child’s bedroom conducive to sleep – dark, cool, and quiet. Keep TV, computers, and other devices out of the bedroom.
- Avoid caffeine.