- News Releases
As children across the country head back into the classroom, now is the time to start easing them back into a normal sleep schedule. How much sleep kids need to maximize their learning potential depends partially on their age. But the key to getting them on a regular schedule may have more to do with what time they wake up than what time they go to sleep.
Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:56) is in the downloads. Read the script.
It's one of the most important keys to their success, but as kids are heading back to school, too many of them aren't getting enough sleep.
Suresh Kotagal, M.D., a pediatric neurologist at Mayo Clinic, says younger kids should be getting at least eight to nine hours of sleep every night, while teenagers can get by on seven-and-a-half to eight-and-a-half.
"That would be the ideal for ensuring optimum level of alertness during the day," Dr. Kotagal says.
Getting exercise every day also is important for a child's alertness and sleep quality.
And while Dr. Kotagal says it's probably OK for kids to be a bit lax about their sleeping habits during the summer, they should start a gradual shift back to a normal sleep schedule about two to three weeks before school starts. That gradual shift should focus on wakeup time
"If we have a fixed morning wakeup time, the bedtime itself will take care of itself," Dr. Kotagal says. "So, I think just having a fixed morning wakeup time seven days a week is a good idea."
That means even on the weekends, kids shouldn't sleep in too late.
A hemangioma, also known as a strawberry birthmark, is a bright red birthmark that shows up in the first or second week of life. It ...
How much screen time is too much for a child? Is digital media affecting your child's health? The surgeon general has issued a new advisory, citing growing ...
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My 4-year-old son has had many episodes of painful sore throats, and his doctor recommended that his tonsils be removed. Why do kids ...