School bells won’t be ringing for a couple of weeks yet, but one expert says Iowa parents should start now on getting the kids to bed earlier to re-establish a good sleep routine. Dr. John Wright, assistant director of the Genesis Sleep Disorders Center in Davenport, says it can take a few weeks to get back on schedule, moving bedtimes back a little each night. If a kid’s staying up ’til midnight now, Dr. Wright says to shoot for moving the bedtime back a half-hour or so a night. He says it’ll be tough on a child to have to do it all at once, making those first few days back at school even more difficult. While many adults are lucky to get seven or eight hours of sleep a night, Wright says kids need much more.Wright says resetting a kid’s biological clock early can help ensure sufficient sleep every night and a healthier, safer, and more productive school year. Wright says elementary schoolers need ten to twelve hours of sleep a night, while junior high school students may need a little less, nine to eleven hours, while teens need about nine hours. Wright says parents can help create a bedtime routine that should include at least 15-30 minutes of calm, soothing activities. Immediately prior to bedtime, encourage quiet time with some relaxing activities. Discourage television, exercise, computer and telephone use, and avoid caffeine.
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