Summer break will soon be over for area students, and that means getting back into a routine. An important first step might be to break the cycle of staying up too late and sleeping half the day away.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 59% of 6th-8th graders don’t get enough sleep. That number grows to 87% when it comes to high schoolers.

Dr. Katie Smentek of the Mankato Clinic says, “They have difficulty focusing, have more emotional sensitivity and that leads to all kinds of problems.”

Dr. Smentek says the transition from summer to school may be hard for some kids, so it’s important to start changing sleep patterns 10 – 14 days before the start of school.

Dr. Smentek says, “Best thing you can do is bring bedtime back slowly, start with 15-20 minutes each night toward bedtime.”

She says guidelines are that preschoolers get 10 – 13 hours of sleep each night, school age children 9 – 11 hours, and adolescents 8 – 10 and stick to the schedule once school starts.

@2:26 Dr. Smentek says, “Keep regular bedtime and wake up times on the weekends because then it won’t be so hard on the weekdays.”