What's Going Around: Sleeplessness

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Kids in many central Ohio school districts head back to class as soon as next week. It will mean earlier bedtimes to be ready-- and rested-- for a long school day.

The key is not to wait until the night before the first day of school.

Even as kids are enjoying this time before summer vacation ends, start managing bedtime-- have them turn in 15 to 20 minutes earlier now and set an alarm 15 minutes earlier than they're waking up each day now prepare for the school schedule.

“We know it's really important that you get enough sleep because it’s really tied into a lot of things including attention and behavior," Dr. Mike Patrick of Nationwide Children’s Hospital said.

Here are three strategies to help: reinstate or develop a routine for bed, cut out late afternoon caffeine and start dimming the lights since lower levels of light in the hours before bed time make it easier to sleep.

Dr. Mike said that while adults, on average, need about seven to eight hours of sleep, children need more along the lines of nine to 10 hours of sleep.

In middle school, the emergency medicine expert said the amount of sleep dips but when children enter puberty and have growth spurts they need more as the enter high school.

Ideally, the doctor said kids need at least eight hours of sleep so the brain can process the experiences of the day, put what's in short term memory into longer term memory, and to rejuvenate the brain so it is ready for the next day.