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Sanford specialist recommends parents get early start on back-to-school sleep schedules

Dr. Arveity Setty says most kids can adjust to a new sleep schedule within a week.

Not getting enough sleep can make it harder for young people to focus while in the classroom.
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FARGO — We all have different strategies for getting to bed. Some of us count sheep, others turn a fan on for some white noise.

It's especially important for young people to get enough rest, according to Dr. Arveity Setty, a specialist in sleep medicine for children for Sanford Health.

"They become more hyperactive, they will have more behavior issues," Dr. Setty said. "So obviously, they need a good duration of sleep. Not just that, but also the schedule is very important."

He says it's tough to focus when tired, and that could impact a young person's academic or athletic performance.

He also says the amount of sleep your child needs depends on their age. 3 to 5-year-olds should aim for 12 to 14 hours of sleep. Kids ages 6 to 13 need nine to 11 hours, while those 14 and older should be good with eight to 10 hours of sleep.


While it's normal for young people to stay up a bit later in the summer, Dr. Setty says when the school year comes around, ideally, the kids will go to bed and wake up at the same time on school nights. Fortunately, most kids can adapt pretty easily.

"Kids are very flexible with respect to everything," Dr. Setty said. "Even if they fall, they break their legs, and they heal pretty fast compared to adults."

He says most kids can get on a back-to-school sleep schedule in about a week, but some might have a harder time doing that. For those kids, he recommends taking it slow.

"So if you're going to bed like 11 p.m., then go to bed at 10:45, and then 10:30," he said. "So gradually go backwards until you hit your school bedtime and wake-up time."

Dr. Setty said melatonin can be helpful for a regular sleep schedule, and staying away from screens an hour before they go to bed is also a good idea.

Related Topics: SANFORD HEALTH
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