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Consumer Reports: Getting kids back on their sleep routines after the holidays

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Posted at 9:32 AM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 10:32:48-05

(CONSUMER REPORTS/WTVF) — After a nice break for the holidays, kids are heading back to class this week, whether in-person or remotely. But are they ready for the school routine again? A good night's sleep might help.

Over the holidays, you might not have enforced those bedtimes as much as you normally do. A lot of kids are having trouble sleeping these days, between remote learning and pandemic-related stress, but sleep is so important for their growing bodies and minds. So, here are some ways to help make sure they're getting enough sleep.

It’s not just the long-term health impact of the coronavirus in children that’s unknown, it’s also the impact of our new normal – changes in eating habits, exercise and here’s the big one: disrupted sleep routines. According to the Journal of Pediatrics, sleep deprived children are at risk of increased weight, and developing type 2 diabetes.

“Getting enough sleep is so important. Along with exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet, it can help manage stress and reduce anxiety, and it may help maintain a strong immune system, which is really important right now,” said Kevin Loria, Consumer Reports Health Editor.

Consumer Reports says a key to good sleep is the same for kids and adults. Set a sleep routine – that means going to bed and getting up at about the same time each day. That helps the body get used to a fixed sleep schedule.

And during the day, get outside. Regular physical activity has been linked to sounder sleep at night. It can boost the effect of sleep hormones like melatonin, especially if it’s done in bright daylight in the morning.

And limit nighttime screen time.

“Blue light from screens can slow the production of your natural sleep hormones, so try to limit video gaming, computers and tablets and phone use at night,” said Loria. A simple solution: Dim the lights and snuggle up with a good book

Remember, we are not living in normal times. Adults are experiencing pandemic-related stress and so are kids, which can affect both their emotional and social development – which can also affect their quality of sleep.

As always, if you have concerns, talk with your child’s pediatrician.