Lubbock sleep expert gives back-to-school bedtime tips - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lubbock sleep expert gives back-to-school bedtime tips

Fuller (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs) Fuller (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs)
Source: Caleb Holder Source: Caleb Holder
Whitaker & children (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs) Whitaker & children (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs)
Jackson (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs) Jackson (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs)
Rose (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs) Rose (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs)
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

The first week of school can be a harsh transition from late summer nights to early school bedtimes for parents with children.

"It's been a struggle since we started school," Melissa Whitaker said. "Collier started kindergarten this year, so he feels like he hasn't had enough time to play Legos... We'll go in around 9 or 9:30 and he's still awake on the floor, playing Legos."

That's a problem when bedtime comes at 8 p.m. sharp.

"It's been a little bit harder to get him to calm down," Whitaker said, "and still feel like he has time to do the things that he wants to do."

That's a problem shared by many other parents at Honey Elementary School.

"They want to do one more thing or play for just a little bit longer," Dustin Fuller said, "or can we watch a show?"

The Medical Director of Covenant Sleep Lab, Christopher Rose, said lack of sleep can lead to behavior issues.

"Especially with performance in school the next day," he said. "They're going to have a bad performance, their grades are going to be lower. These are things that have all been proven."

Bedtime should last at least 11 hours for elementary students, Rose said, and nine to ten for middle and high school students.

"A routine is very important to children," he said, "especially in younger children."

For example, bathing an hour before bed.

"That cooling trend after you get out of the hot shower tells your body to cool down," Rose said.

Fuller speaks from experience, and says that works for his kids.

"We try to do bath, bed and we read books before we go to bed," he said.

Rose prefers only "old-fashion" books before bedtime, without LED lights like cell phones and tablets have.

"The blue LED hits the back of the retina," he said, "which sends a signal to the pineal gland that tells your body to turn off melatonin production."

That means 9-year-old Taylor Jackson has to get creative to fall asleep.

"Picturing my favorite movie in my head," she said, "and watching it in my head, and then I fall asleep while I'm doing that."

Another method for sleepless kids is taking melatonin. Rose recommends one to three milligrams for elementary students.

"You give the melatonin about an hour before bedtime, the bedtime that you want them to have," Rose said, "and that will help adjust them to their daily schedule."

These are all tricks that Whitaker has to keep her son healthy.

"The more well-rested they are, the better their brains will work," she said, "and the better they can cope with their changing emotions. It just makes everybody's life a lot easier."

Copyright 2016 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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