Healthy sleep habits are the key to a successful school year, says pediatrician

Doctor recommends sleep hours for students going back to school

TIPTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - It’s back to school for thousands of kids in the Mid-South.

On Monday, students in Tipton County, Haywood County and Millington went back to school.

Hugs and high fives can get any kid’s day going on the right foot, like those handed out at Austin Peay Elementary School in Tipton County Monday. But doctors say sleep is the key to a successful school year.

“A lot of parents are really concerned with how do we get out kids ready, on a school time sleep schedule,” said Dr. Jason Yaun, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital General Pediatrician.

Yaun recommends elementary school age kids get 10 to 12 hours of sleep and high schoolers can benefit from 8 to 10 hours.

Some districts, like SCS, don’t start back for another week. But Yaun encourages practicing a back-to-school sleep schedule now.

“It’s not very realistic to expect a child to have a 2 a.m. bedtime then the night before school to go to sleep at 8 p.m.,” Yaun said.

Doctors said maybe the number one thing getting in between a bad and a good night's sleep is a screen.

“The kind of light the tablets and screens omit really does interfere with our sleep process,” Yaun said.

Yaun said the blue light is extremely stimulating and can get in the way of winding down. He said start good bedtime habits, shut the screens off an hour before bed, take a shower or bath and read before lights out.

Yaun said when you put the screens down, really do it. Shut them down and keep them out of the bedroom or off the bedside table.

“We know kids sleep with them in their bed or right next to the bed,” Yaun said. “We know they aren’t truly putting them away. We know they’re constantly getting them, checking them.”

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