Back to School Bedtimes

Experts recommend rolling the bedtime back now

PEORIA, Ill. -

Many kids across central Illinois are savoring the final days of summer before it's time to head back to school.

 

“It went too quickly." Morton Parent, Janet Leman, says of summer break.

 

Soon students and parents will be setting the alarm clock just a little earlier. Leman says a part of the back to school routine is getting her kids back to their usual bedtime before summer ends.

 

"Yeah a couple days before we'll start having him go back to a more normal bedtime, getting him up at a normal time." Leman says of her 9-year-old son.

 

Experts agree, gradually adjusting sleep schedules starting now is the best approach.

 

"So if a teenager for example is going to bed at midnight every night now and sleeping in until 10 or 11 you might start having them go to bed half an hour early or an hour earlier a day to get to the target time." Medical Director of the Illinois Neurological Sleep Center at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, Dr. Sarah Zallek, explains.

 

However, doctors also say wake times are more important than bedtimes.

 

"The idea is get them up at about the same time every day. Start with about that wakeup time for school and the bedtime will follow because if they're getting up at 6 or 7 or whenever it may be for school they're going to be tired when they should be at bedtime if they're normal sleepers." Dr. Zallek says.

 

If students don't get the proper amount of ZZZ's it can affect learning their ABC's.

 

"They can be restless, inattentive, unfocused, it can be hard to learn and remember, it can be hard to kind of behave well. That's why kids who are sometimes misbehaving in school are sleep deprived and acting up because they're not well enough rested." Dr. Zallek says.

 

But, if you're busy stretching your days savoring the last of summer don't let it keep you up at night.

 

“If you don’t get around to it or if you’re going on vacation or you want to savor summer, it’s not everybody’s emergency. I think everybody responds differently,” Dr. Zallek explains. “So if you get to that last day before school starts and think ‘Oh gosh, it’s time to get to bed early’ it might be hard to go to sleep early that night partly because their schedule has been going to bed later or they’re excited or nervous, but they’ll quickly adjust.”

 

"I figure they survive either way, you know they kind of figure it out." Leman says.

 

Keeping a similar routine on weekends is also important. Doctors say going to bed much later or sleeping in can actually cause a jet lag effect.


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