Doctors stress importance of sleep as school year begins

PKG: Doctors stress importance of sleep for students

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - As kids return to the classroom for a brand new school year, some parents may wrestle with getting their children to go to bed at a decent hour.

"Sleep is a necessary part of life," says Roper Sleep Specialist Dr. Jason Gun. " If you don't sleep, you're not going to do well."

Dr. Gun says sleep deprivation is usually the number one reason why students have problems in the classroom.

"Without the right amount of sleep, the body is not restored and you can't function well," says Dr. Gun.

And he says children of different ages can manifest sleepiness in different way.

When it comes to young kids, Dr. Gun says, "instead of yawning they might be nervous and have more energy or act out, and appear they just can't concentrate."

And that behavior can cause trouble in the classroom. Dr. Gun says often times these are the kids that don't cooperate with teachers and are the ones that get labeled as having other medical problems when sometimes they just need more sleep.

According to Dr. Gun, older children often show different symptoms of sleep deprivation, such as mental fatigue that may cause students to fall asleep in class.

Susan Markham, a sleep coordinator, says the best way to overcome these possible issues is to establish good sleeping habits. This may include having a nightly routine which helps trigger the brain to know it's time to go to sleep.

Also, Markham says to keep an eye on the amount of caffeine your child gets, especially in the afternoon. It can stay in their system for up to six hours.

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