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Back to School: Establishing good sleeping habits

Younger children need 9 to 12 hours of sleep every night. (File picture)

Horry County, S.C. (WPDE) — As we approach a new school year, we take a look at the importance of establishing a sleep routine for your children.

Seven-year-old Andrew Herman is soaking up the last few days of summer before getting into back to school mode.

"My bedtime is now 8 o'clock for the summer. But it's going to back to 7," said Andrew.

"In the summer, we're much more relaxed than we are during the school year. He goes to bed a little bit later, we're hanging out with friends in the cooler temperatures at night," said Kate Herman, his mom.

Kate says she can tell a difference when he has not had enough sleep.

"When I don't get enough sleep, I kind of like, drag myself out of bed," said Andrew.

"Sleep is so important, especially for kids because of growth and development, and especially for cognitive development in regards to school performance and paying attention," said Dr. Rebecca Matthews.

Dr. Matthews is the medical director for the Pediatric ER at Grand Strand Medical Center.

She says now is the time, to get your kids back on a school-year sleep schedule.

"It takes about two weeks to get your body back on a sleep schedule, on a regimine," said Dr. Matthews.

The younger the kids, the more sleep they need.

"From the ages of, for school aged kids, from about 6 to 12, need between 9 to 12 hours of sleep. So that's a lot. So average about 10 to 11 hours," said Dr. Matthews.

Teenagers need 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night.

"You need time to not only let your body wind down, but let your mind rest as well," said Dr. Matthews.

Dr. Matthews also says to eliminate any electronics two to three hours before bedtime.

"The bright light emitted from electronics really disrupts the body's natural rhythm of sleep," said Dr. Matthews.

"During the school year, we do have rules. He's not allowed to play the I-pad or any tablet, Monday through Friday," said Kate.

The rules may be looming, but Andrew says he is excited for school.

"He's ready and I'm ready," said Kate, with a laugh.

Dr. Matthews also says to avoid heavy meals and caffeine before bed time. And for younger children, limit liquid intake in general, so they are not waking frequently in the night.

For information on how to create an electronics time calculator for you kids, click here.

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