LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Doctor Egambaram Senthivel is a pediatric sleep doctor at Kosair Children's Hospital and University of Louisville Physicians. He says sleep is food for the brain.
"When students don't get enough sleep, they can fall asleep easily in the classroom. They can also be easily distracted, have a hard time paying attention and their mood can be disturbed."
He says lack of sleep does not only cause minor setbacks, it can also be harmful long term.
"It can have an impact on the cardiovascular system. Studies suggest children who sleep less tend to have high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes."
The National Sleep Foundation recommends students in elementary and middle school get 9 to 11 hours of sleep. High school students should get 8 to 10 hours of sleep.
When it comes to getting students in a back to school sleep routine, Dr. Senthivel says it takes about two weeks.
"Advance their sleep time 15 minutes every day. Parents should also advance the wake up time 15 minutes every day."
He recommends practicing these habits to establish a good routine.
Read a book to unwind and relax before bedtime. Go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time every day. It also helps to stay on a sleep schedule 7 days a week.
He says students should not exercise, use smart phones, watch TV, drink caffeine or eat a large meal before going to bed.
"The most important thing parents need to know about sleep is that if they want children to function well, children have to sleep well," says Senthivel.
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