New School Year, New Sleeping Patterns

Reno, Nev. - During the summer months, it's easy to let your kids stay up late and sleep in. But with the new school year quickly approaching in Washoe County, doctors suggest parents adjust their kids' sleeping patterns immediately.

Dr. William Torch, Medical Director of the Washoe County Sleep Disorder Center says adjusting a child's sleep patterns is something to do gradually.

"It's very difficult, just like if you're dealing with jet lag, to suddenly make that transition," Torch said.

To make the transition easier for kids, Dr. Torch suggests putting kids to bed a half-hour to hour earlier each night for the rest of the week. Then come Monday, they will be rested and ready to learn.

Torch says most students need between eight and eleven hours of sleep a night. When a child is asleep deprived, it will affect his or hers school work.

"When they are sleepy, they're not as inclined to participate as much, and they're definitely not as excited to do some of the things," Michelle MacKay, a kindergarten teacher at Blue Kangaroo, said.

Not only will lack of sleep keep your kids from doing the best they can in school, it can also lead to behavioral issues.

"I personally believe that most ADD-like disorders are due to a sleep disorder, in most cases, inadequate amounts of sleep," Torch said.

But there is more to making sure your child gets enough sleep than just an early bedtime.

Dr. Torch suggests not allowing your younger kids to watch TV past eight or nine o'clock in the evening, and high school students should not be allowed to use any electronic device including computers and cellphones past nine o'clock if it can be avoided.

He says the light from those screens, will keep the brain from shutting down for the night.

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