Adjusting to school-year sleeping schedules

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Summertime means later bed and wake-up times for kids but the school year means reigning that in to ensure their success.

For some of the parents out there in New Mexico, that time is coming very quickly. Albuquerque Public Schools’ first day of classes is August 3.

Here are what doctors recommend for how long students should sleep:

  • Preschoolers: 10-13 hours
  • Grade school: 9-12 hours
  • Teenagers: 8-10 hours

We all know students getting sleep is very important and doctors say it helps them succeed in the classroom.

“The biggest one that we see is irritability. Even little toddlers, when they don’t get enough sleep, are very cranky. They can also have problems with concentration in school and behaving. That can lead to poor academic outcomes,” said Dr. Pawitta Kassemsap, of Optum New Mexico. “Another thing it can cause is fatigue. They can fall asleep during class time. They can also have problems with headaches and, sometimes in teenagers, it can lead to depression.”

Experts recommend making bedtime and wake-up times 15 minutes earlier. They say to do this until you reach the optimal bedtime and wake-up times.

An hour before bedtime, they also recommend limiting blue light exposure. That means TVs, phones, tablets, video games and other devices.

“Make sure that the bed routine is nice and calm. It’s quiet, comfortable. Make sure their bedroom is very comfortable and just stick to that routine,” Dr. Kassemsap said.

Also, avoid caffeine and limit napping throughout the day. Try to keep the naps to less than 30 minutes long.

If your child is still having trouble sleeping, check with your child’s physician to see if there are any underlying issues.