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Students jet lagged for school start

Start adjusting your child’s sleep schedule now to avoid them feeling jet lagged for the first few weeks of school, sleep experts say.

Professor Dorothy Bruck, sleep psychologist, from Victoria University said, “Getting students back into early morning starts for school can be difficult. For some, moving from a holiday routine to a school routine is like travelling across a three hour time zone.”

International studies have shown that an alarming four out of ten high school students report levels of daytime sleepiness well beyond normal range. For most of these students the reason is simply not getting enough sleep.

Bruck said children and teenagers are often only getting about seven hours sleep each night, despite experts recommending nine hours or more for 5-12 year olds.
Dr David Hillmand, president, Sleep Health Foundation said getting enough sleep is important for children to be able to do their best in school.

“Research has shown that students who don’t get enough sleep have difficulty understanding lessons, and struggle to complete assignments, class tests and exams.

“If students are tired they are also more likely to experience negative moods, become irritable and less able to tolerate stress. In addition, poor sleep has been linked to weight gain and depression.”

Bruck said that parents have an important role to play in teaching their children to value sleep.

“Sleep is as important as healthy food and exercise, parents can help their children look forward to going to bed by getting them ready for bed in good time and ensuring that the hour before bed is wind-down time,” she said.

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