Health Watch - Preparing for School: Bedtime

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about preparing for the upcoming school year. Children do better in school when they’ve had a good night’s rest. If your children have enjoyed the summer by staying up late and sleeping in, it may take some time to get back on a school-day schedule.

Dr. John Herman, a sleep expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says the way to readjust sleep schedules is by changing the wake-up time. If you make children go to bed earlier, they’ll just lie awake. Waking them up earlier will make them tired enough to go to sleep earlier that night. It may take a few days to get used to the new schedule, so start the change before school starts. Children aged 5 to 12 need about 10 hours of sleep a night, while teens need from 8 and a half to 9 and a quarter hours. To make getting to sleep easier, limit caffeine in the afternoon and evening and television and computer games before bedtime. Instead, have children read or do quiet activities at bedtime.

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/sleep to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in sleep.

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August 2009


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