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Adjusting From Summer Fun To School Sleep Schedule Is Important, Expert Says

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

It's time to head back to school in Green Country, and that means lots of parents and kids trying to get back in the swing of things.

Getting enough sleep is important to your child’s heath and performance in class.

Sixth-grader Lauren Clary and her sister Catherine, who is in first grade, are soaking in the days before they head back to school.

"I've been staying up until about 10, 10:30 and I've been sleeping in until around 9:30,” Lauren said.

Catherine added, "Sometimes my mom doesn't let me stay up so late, but my dad lets me stay up."

With the school year comes early start times.

“I have to wake up at 5:50, yeah, well the school starts at 7:50 but you have to drop off my big sister, then we have to get ready and all that,” Lauren said.

Family Medicine practitioner Dr. Laurel Willston says heading straight into the school day schedule after a summer full of late nights and sleeping in really can take a toll.

“They need enough sleep so that they can concentrate, so that they can learn, so that they can cooperate with their teachers,” Willston said. “And if they're tired all the time, none of those things are going to go very well for them."

Lauren and Catherine's mom, Beth, is a seasoned pro at back to school.

“The key is healthy snacks, patience, and it takes a couple weeks and then they'll be all right,” Beth said. “But yes, it will be a bumpy start."

Willston recommends kids of all ages, even teens, to get enough sleep during the school year in order to avoid inattention, behavior problems, and ultimately, potential health problems.

She advises parents in the last days of summer to start a gradual routine.

“So you can't really ever make someone go to sleep, but what you can do is start waking them up earlier and earlier."

It is a method that gets kids bodies back into a new rhythm and wanting to go to bed earlier.

As for Lauren and Catherine, they say as hard as it is to go back to class, they're excited for the start of school.

“I'm kind of excited and nervous,” Lauren said.


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