Changing Sleep Habits Can Help Kids In School

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A new study shows most middle school and high school kids don't get nearly the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep per night. High school seniors average less than seven.

Back to school routines may be tough to manage for many Central Ohio families.

“I feel like it's a constant struggle to make sure they are getting enough sleep. It's a constant struggle,” said Kelly Stone, mother of three.

Stone has to organize the schedules for three busy kids, including a high school girl, a middle school girl, and a boy in elementary school.

“We all have a great plan, but then when things come up. It throws the plan out the window,” Stone admits.

Dr. Aneesa Das is a sleep medicine specialist at the Ohio State University.

“Young kids are often going to bed before it's dark, and they're getting up before it's light out in the morning - so that makes it particularly difficult,” said Das.

Das says "wind down" time is one key to getting proper rest, and the stress of doing homework right up until bedtime can even be counter-productive.

“Children respond to sleep deprivation with hyperactivity, poor performance in school, and poor performance on tests,” added Das.

Experts say there should also be a curfew for electronic devices because the glowing screens disrupt the release of melatonin, a hormone that tells the body it's time to sleep.

Doctors say if you can teach time management to your children now, they will keep the habit into adulthood.

Experts suggest delaying the start of the school day would curb the lack of sleep. More than 40 percent of the nation’s public high schools start class before 8 a.m.

Learn more at the National Sleep Foundation