Kentuckiana students prepare for back to school sleep habits


by Michelle Arnold

Posted on July 31, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 31 at 6:30 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It's that time of year again when children trade summer play for an entire day and parents feel the pressure when it's bedtime.

“Bedtime is usually 9pm but as school starts, I try to get a little closer to 8 and it usually ends up being 830,” Chris Mell, a father, said.

Chris Mell knows his two kids have to get to bed on time, or else.

“When they are hungry and sleepy you get nothing done. No homework just a lot of anger,” Mell, said.

“I'm really, really tired and at recess I'll just nap outside,” Mell's son Issac, said.

For many parents, adjusting sleep schedules can be the biggest back to school battle.

“It's really hard that first day when that alarm clock goes off if you haven't been preparing your child to wake up early before that day actually happens,” Dr. Erica Labar, said.

Your child needs more sleep than you may think.

“For preschoolers, they need anywhere between 11 and 13 hours a night. For school age, it's 10 to 12 and when you get to high school those kids still need 9 hours of sleep a night,” Dr. Labar, said.

Getting your kids on schedule can be a big chore, doctors recommend pacing your kids. Changing their sleep schedules all at once can make sleep problems even worse.

“We recommend no more than a 15 to 30 minute increase or decrease on their bedtime per day when you're preparing to get them back to sleep,” Dr. Labar, said.

Consistency is key, especially with small children.

“If a child learns that the third time they cry or raise a fit about going to bed that the parent is gonna give in, they'll do it 4 times the next night. So you'll really have to be patient with them,” Dr. Labar, said.