A new survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) reveals that children are surrounded by disruptors impacting their ability to achieve sufficient, healthy sleep. 

Results show that parents blame video games (50%) and social media (44%) for negatively affecting the sleeping schedules of school-aged children and teens. That’s not the only thing disrupting children’s sleep, the survey found. Parents said that homework (34%) and extracurricular activities (28%) are also disrupting forces. 

When helping your child reset their bedtime and create a nighttime routine for the start of the school year, keep in mind these barriers and how they may be impacting your child’s sleep. 

“Getting enough sleep is just as crucial as nutrition and exercise when it comes to a child’s overall health and well-being,” says Anne Marie Morse, DO, a pediatric sleep physician and spokesperson for the AASM, in a release. “When a child achieves healthy sleep, they’re more likely to look, feel and act their best, which allows them to stay focused and alert in the classroom, on the field, and in their extracurriculars.” 

In honor of the 4th annual Student Sleep Health Week (Sept. 11-15), AASM is driving awareness of the importance of healthy sleep for students of all ages to learn, grow, and thrive. To help students overcome sleep disruptors and achieve healthy sleep, the AASM recommends the following tips: 

  • Avoid caffeine after school. The caffeine in sodas, coffee, and energy drinks can make it harder for students to fall asleep at night. 
  • Restrict screen time before bed. Encourage your child to disconnect from all electronic devices at least 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime to help them wind down for the night. 
  • Keep electronics in a different room. To help avoid temptation, leave all devices outside of the bedroom and use an alarm clock instead of a phone for waking up in the morning.  
  • Follow a relaxing nighttime routine. Establish a relaxing nighttime routine, which may include journaling, reading, or taking a warm bath or shower.  
  • Make the bedroom quiet and cool. Keep the bedroom quiet, dark, and a little cool to ensure a comfortable sleeping environment.  

The AASM recommends that children 6-12 years of age should sleep nine to 12 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health, while teenagers 13-18 years of age should obtain eight to 10 hours of sleep per night.  

To help your child select an appropriate bedtime for their schedule, use the AASM’s Online Bedtime Calculator. Consider factoring in expected disruptors when setting a bedtime for your children. 

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