August 29, 2016

Back to School: Setting a Sleep Schedule

By Robert A Poarch

No matter what age, getting a good night’s rest can improve health as well as performance in school. Students without adequate sleep are more likely to be drowsy in the afternoon, and they are also at increased risk for poor grades, behavior problems, irritability and depression.

Fully rested children learn better and are all around more pleasant. These tips can help your student shift from a summer to a school sleep schedule:

  • About two weeks before school starts, incrementally go to bed earlier and wake up earlier.
  • Establish quiet time before bedtime with activities such as a bath (infants), story time (toddlers) or reading time (older children).
  • Help your child create a schedule for school, homework, activities and family time that leaves enough time for sleep.
  • Limit electronic distractions from televisions, computers and electronic devices.
  • Set a consistent sleep schedule. Try to keep this schedule 7 days per week.
  • Avoid big meals and caffeine-heavy drinks close to bedtime.
  • Create a bedroom environment that is dark, not too hot or cold and has a comfortable bed.
  • Be a role model and establish a healthy sleep routine.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends these sleep times for school-age children:

  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
  • Elementary to middle school (6-13): 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
  • Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours

For more information about our pediatric sleep services, please visit