Sweet dreams and sleep routines

tucking child inWith the end of summer approaching and the next school year looming ahead, it’s time to get your kids back into a sleep schedule. After a summer filled with sleepovers, video game marathons, birthday parties, barbecues, vacations and other fun events and activities that kept your kids up past their bed times, it’s going to be a challenge to get them back in their school sleep routine. Luckily for you, a few of our doctors put together some tips to get your kids back on schedule.

Drs. Egambaram Senthilvel, Heather Felton, and Mohamed Saad with UofL Physicians recommend following these tips to ensure your children will be on the right track by the start of the school year:

  • Create a smooth transition between summer and school. Kids need to be back on a schedule a few weeks before school starts, so start as soon as possible and don’t wait until last minute. Start today by simply moving up their summer bedtime 20-30 minutes each night until you’ve reached the target bed time for the school year.
  • Have a bedtime routine each night. Walk through the bedtime routine with your child, for example taking a bath, brushing teeth and reading a bedtime story. Do this routine with them each night until they are able to complete it on their own.
  • Limit screen time before bed. The bright light from the screen tricks the brain into thinking it’s day time and in turn makes the brain more active. To prevent this, make sure your kids do not get any screen time (TV, iPad, computer, iPhone, etc.) 30-60 minutes before bed. There should also be no TV in the bedroom so your child isn’t tempted to turn it on once you leave the room.
  • Practice “sleep hygiene.” This means the bedroom should be dark, quiet and at a comfortable temperature in order to achieve the best quality sleep.
  • Limit caffeine intake throughout the day. Too much caffeine may hinder your child’s ability to relax and fall asleep.
  • Night snacking is not recommended.
  • Get the proper amount of sleep each night. Preschool children need 11-13 hours of sleep per night, grade school children need 8-10 hours, and middle and high school students need about nine hours per night.
  • Parents, do your part. Turn down your TV and music at night after your children go to bed. Participate in the bedtime routine with your child and encourage the importance of a good night’s rest.

Follow all of these tips to help prevent sleep disorders, which can hinder school performance. Getting too little sleep can cause hyperactivity and poor concentration. Getting your child the right amount of sleep, no matter what age, is important for academic success and keeping your kid out of trouble in school. If your child is experiencing trouble sleeping and you have tried the tips mentioned above, consider making an appointment at our pediatric sleep center.

Dr. Egambaram Senthilvel is a pediatric sleep specialist at UofL Physicians. To make an appointment, call 502-588-2220.

Dr. Heather Felton is a general pediatrician with UofL Physicians. She sees patients at UofL Pediatrics – Stonestreet. To make an appointment, call 502-588-0610.

Dr. Mohamed Saad is an adult sleep specialist at UofL Physicians. To make an appointment at the Sleep Center, call 502-588-0480.