Now is the time to change sleeping habits for kids before new school year

Doctors advise getting kids to better 15 minutes earlier per night to get used to a sleep schedule
Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 8:10 AM CDT
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WESTON, Wis. (WSAW) -Summer vacation is winding down and back to school is right around the corner, that means now is the best time to help your kids adjust to that school-year bedtime routine, and part of that means saying goodnight to electronic devices a little earlier.

It’s all about routine, and shutting your brain down, and making sure children get the right amount of sleep to get them through the day. According to UW Health, elementary and middle school aged kids need about 9 to 12 hours, with teenagers needing anywhere from 8 to 10 hours. Now is the best time to start changing your kids’ sleep habits. Pediatric sleep physician with UW Health Kids in Madison Dr. Cami Matthews suggests moving up bedtime by 15 minutes every couple of days, that will make the transition easier once school starts.

“We perform better, we think better when we have enough sleep, and we also are happier people, we get along with people better when we’re getting enough sleep,” said Matthews.

It is a good idea to wind down from electronic devices at night 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed, and to instead focus on brushing teeth, reading a book, or writing in a journal.

“Your brain tends to sleep best if it’s in a cool dark room. Your brain needs to shut off, and if it has those electronics, like TV going in the background, you tend to have a harder time shutting your brain off. It’s really best to have that full, quiet. place to sleep,” said Matthews.

Matthews says white noise like a fan is OK. Not getting enough sleep can slow the whole day down and cause headaches, stomach aches, and mental health issues.

DC Everest and Wausau students have about two weeks until school starts to start changing those sleeping habits. They will start on Tuesday, Aug. 29. Stevens Point and Merrill have about three weeks and will start on Tuesday, Sept. 5.