The long, lazy days of summer are almost over and thousands of students are headed back to class. They may have new clothes and school supplies to start the year, but still struggle to learn because they didn't get a good night's sleep.
Good, quality sleep is crucial to academic success, according to Eva Imperial, MD, of Iredell Primary Care for Women. Imperial is board-certified in family medicine and stresses healthy habits for patients of all ages, including good sleep hygiene.
"If you don't get enough sleep, some of the symptoms could mimic ADHD symptoms," said Imperial. "You're not focused, you're tired, and you're not doing well in school because you're not paying attention. Based on your age group you have to make sure you're getting enough sleep."
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children 6 to 13 years old need 9 to 12 hours of sleep each night. Children 13 and older need at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to promote optimal health. One growing obstacle to getting enough shut eye for children as well as adults is electronic devices.
"If you let your teenager sleep with their device and it keeps going off and dinging, or it's emitting the light, you have to shut that down," said Imperial. "You need time to let your brain unwind before bed. Also, the light from electronic devices can interfere with your melatonin production, a hormone which regulates sleep."
Consistency can help to build good sleep habits. Encourage your child to go to bed near the same time every night and try to stay close to the same schedule on weekends. Imperial says bedtime should be a family affair.
"This is a family effort to get everyone fed, bathed, ready for bed and do it early enough so we can rest," she said. "There may be extra activities in the afternoon and evening hours you need to eliminate to make quality sleep happen."
Iredell Primary Care for Women is part of the Iredell Physician Network and Iredell Health System. The practice is conveniently located off of Exit 33 in Mooresville at 114