Children who get 10 or more hours of sleep do better socially, academically: study

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On a hot, sunny, summer day, sleep is the last thing on the minds of most parents and kids.

But experts say it should be if you have little ones entering school for the first time in September.

For parent Raymond Sewell, that’s easier said than done.

“I’m really going to have to be concerned about that soon because we’ve been travelling all over this summer, and [my daughter’s] sleep hasn’t been consistent,” he said. “There hasn’t been a schedule.”

Experts say parents like Sewell, who are starting to build good sleep patterns now, are setting their kids up for success in school.

A new study out of the U.S. finds that children who get at least 10 hours of shut-eye consistently do better both socially and academically.

“Everything is new,” says parenting expert Maureen Dennis, including children’s routines and teachers.

“Now is the time to get them set up on a sleep routine because it doesn’t happen overnight.”

Experts say the 10 or more hours of sleep are best to occur at night — meaning naps don’t count — something that could prove tricky for parents.

“I don’t think that’ll be manageable,” Sewell admits. “In theory, maybe, but in practice, I don’t know.”

Making sure kids get lots of activity supports sleep health during the day, but experts say that the nighttime hours are best for slowing down and unplugging.

“There are tools that can help children establish a good sleep routine,” Dennis said, adding that most health professionals recommend turning screens off 30 minutes before bedtime.

The study found that the more consistent kids were in getting at least 10 hours of sleep each night, the better they did in peer and teacher relationships, as well as sight recognition of words and letters.

If sleep yields results like that, it will help everyone rest easy.