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Back To School, Back To Sleep

August 4, 2014, 6:03 PM by Brittany Larson

Back To School, Back To Sleep

After a couple months of late nights and summertime fun, it can be difficult to transition back to the school year routine.

"Nobody wants summer to be over and stuff so it's hard to make that school transition and stuff but it's coming up," Parent Jeff Rentschler said.

It's hard to believe the first day of school for many students is in two weeks. But that's just enough time to get used to going to bed earlier.

"Probably in the next coming weeks we will have them start going to bed at 9 or 9:30 ... Somewhere before 10 p.m. And have them turn in their cell phones and their ipads and that kind of thing and make sure they sleep in their beds and not the couch to watch a movie," Rentschler said.

13-year-old Jordan and 15-year-old Alicia Rentschler keep busy with their various extra-curricular activities, and extra sleep is crucial.

"We are pretty active and stuff so our kids are in sports all year round and activities before and after school and with him being done with baseball he'll start football and my daughter has summer school and she will be marching band right now so it's pretty important," Rentschler said.

Health experts say kids and teens between the ages of 5 to 18 should get at least 10 hours of sleep so they are well rested for their busy school day.

"I would say at least the week before school is a good time to sit down and  say what is our bedtime going to be and what is our morning routine going to be when school gets started so you have a week to get the body used to that," Avera Pediatrician, Dr. Sam Schimelfenig said.

When a new school year rolls around students may find themselves sleep deprived, which can affect their learning. 

"From a learning perspective if we are not sleeping well at night we see that really being affected the following day with learning. It's harder to learn, it's harder to recall things that we have learned in the past and school can be a constant struggle if sleep is an issue," Dr. Schimelfenig said.

It's recommended to eliminate distractions before bedtime.

"For older kids having that period where they wind down relax a little bit. Ideally not TV and that kind of thing an hour before bed time it's just a lot of audio visual stimulations for the brain to process. And then their sleep environment make sure that's a great environment for them to sleep in.

Rentchler admits, it might take some time before his son Jordan gets use to a new sleep schudeule.

"It's a work in progress ... He's just like I was at that age, I didn't want to go to bed early either. Every kid is different I think," Rentchler said.

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