Ways to help students transition back to an early sleep schedule

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TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Many East Texans head back to school this week, and for some, returning to an early sleep schedule can be challenging.

Thankfully, doctors at UT Health in East Texas have some suggestions to make the transition a little easier.

“Try to get kids used to falling asleep early a few weeks before school starts,” said Dr. Hill, UT Health pediatrician. “That way it won’t be so challenging once it’s time for school.”

For some, the chance to work an earlier sleep schedule in over summer may have passed, but Dr. Hill has advice to help those students fall asleep as well if they are having trouble.

The first thing she suggests is to limit cell phone or screen use before bed.

“Certainly you want to turn off all electronics including phones a good hour or so before bed-time,” said Hill. “That really helps to disconnect the brain from the blue light which is really a day time stimulus and allows the brain’s natural melatonin to work. It also gets your brain tired and ready for bed.”

Along with screen time, trying to eat a healthy dinner a few hours before bed time will also aid with rest.

Dr. Hill suggests avoiding sugary snacks or drinks that may give children added energy, so they can reach the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep.

“Sleep is important to everyone. For kids it can help them to function better and focus when they’re in class,” said Dr. Hill.

Lastly, Dr. Hill said that if parents are having trouble getting their children on an early, regular schedule, patience is key.

She says while it may be a rough transition, keeping them on the same sleep cycle for a few weeks, including weekends, can really help.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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