Expert offers advice on how to help kids adjust to earlier bedtimes
SATURDAY, Aug. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- As the new school year begins, parents need to get their children and teens back on their normal sleep routines, an expert says.
Try to prevent your children from taking naps until they've adjusted to their earlier sleep and wake schedule. This will help them fall asleep more easily and sleep better through the night, Dr. Sanjeev Kothare, director of NYU Langone Medical Center's Pediatric Sleep Disorders Program, advised.
It's also a good idea to limit youngster's caffeine consumption in the afternoon, especially after 3 p.m., Kothare said. He noted that caffeine can stay in the body for eight to 10 hours.
Limit your children's use of electronic devices a few hours before bedtime. The blue light emitted by televisions, computer screens, smartphones and video games keeps brain activity high, which can make it difficult to fall asleep.
Unwinding before bed will help put youngsters in a relaxed mood. Get them to read a book, lie in bed, dim the lights and relax an hour before bed, Kothare suggested.
Try to keep children's weekend sleep schedules close to their weekday routines. Getting too far off track will make it more difficult for them to fall asleep on Sunday night, resulting in a disturbed sleep cycle.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about preparing for a new school year (http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/school/pages/Preparing-for-a-New-School-Year.aspx ).
SOURCE: NYU Langone Medical Center, news release, August 2014