How to get kids back on a good sleep schedule in time for school

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Thousands of kids across Southeast Texas will be back in the classroom very soon. Summer nights often mean late nights. So how do you get your kid back on a good sleep schedule?

If you ask parents, you may get different answers. Leanne Tardif and Nathalie Tardif are the prime example.

Leanne told us she's slowly been getting her kids ready for the new school year.

"Now that we're heading back to school," said Tardif. "For the last 2 weeks, I've been putting them back to bed 20 minutes earlier."

Nathalie Tardif said her young kids go to bed the same time year round.

"They can't tell the time so they don't know," said Nathalie Tardif. "Whatever time they go to bed, they'll wake up the same time."

Eyewitness News sat down with the experts inside the Sleep Disorders Center at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and UTHealth. Dr. Richard Castriotta explained most children are chronically sleep deprived. He stressed the importance of allowing your child to get the recommended amount of rest.

"It's logical if you don't have enough sleep, you're struggling to concentrate," said Dr. Castriotta. "Not allowing or requiring that your child get enough sleep is a handicap just when it's going to be most important for development."

Dr. Castriotta said some studies suggest the difference between A & B's or C & D's could be a little as a half hour of sleep. He suggest elementary children get 11 hours a night. Middle school children should get 10 hours a night. High school students need 9 and 1/4 hours a night.

"Start addressing the issue of televisions, computers, and smartphones," said Dr. Castriotta. "The computers are even more disruptive, really disruptive to sleep."

Experts also said you should ease your child into a new sleep schedule. Slowly adjust their bed time and wake time leading up to the school year.

Dr. Castriotta also said the blue light from many handheld devices such as smartphones serve as a constant stimulus. In fact, they trigger the part of the brain which tells you to stay awake.
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