WESTCHESTER, Ill Returning to the classroom after a three-month break signals that summer is drawing to a close. For children and teens, the end of summer also means an end to the long daylight hours that allows them to stay out later, as well as the long lazy mornings of sleeping in. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) advises children and teens that sleep habits adopted over the summer will need to be changed when school starts in order to ensure proper sleep.
Daniel G. Glaze, MD, of Texas Childrens Hospital in Houston, a pediatric sleep expert and a member of the AASM board of directors, notes that, just as one wouldnt start a trip with a half-full tank of gas, children and teens need to obtain a proper amount of sleep during the night to complete the school day successfully.
Many children, and especially teens, alter their sleep-wake schedules and maintain a later bedtime, says Dr. Glaze. This works for the summer until the start of the school year. They then need to advance their bedtime to meet early school start times. It is difficult to advance your bedtime and, once a schedule has been established, it may take days or weeks to develop a new schedule. It cant be done overnight. Not unexpectedly, for the first weeks of school, many children and teens do not obtain a proper amount of sleep.
William Kohler, MD, of the Florida Sleep Institute in Spring Hill, and a pediatric sleep expert, says that children and teens need more sleep than adults, and their circadian rhythm is easily disrupted. Because an adequate quantity and quality of sleep is necessary for optimal learning, Dr. Kohler encourages parents to enforce appropriate bedtime hours and a healthy sleep environment to ensure at least nine to 10 hours of quality sleep, depending on the age of the student.
A students performance in the classroom is dictated by the amount of sleep he or she gets the night before, says Dr. Kohler. A child or teen
Contact: Jim Arcuri
American Academy of Sleep Medicine