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Back to School: Putting kids on sleep schedules

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GRAND FORKS, ND (WDAZ-TV) - In the first installment of our Back to School series, parents know before our kids go back to class they need to get back to good sleeping habits. This goes for older kids, too.

Going back to school can be tough especially when it comes to your sleep schedule, even for college students.

Marsha Vistad, sleep expert for Altru, says one of the hardest things for kids going back to school is going back to bed at a reasonable time.

Vistad: "They don't get up like they normally do they sleep in later, they're up later at night so their body clock gets used to that, when school starts they're not used to getting up in the morning like they were in the spring."

Vistad says it could take up to 10 days to get back on a regular sleep cycle. She recommends easing back into a school sleep schedule at least a week before that first day.

And there's one habit she says we all need to break...

Vistad: "Don't use the weekend as a sleep catch up try to make it the same every day."

She says a child from preschool to age 12 needs about 11 hours of sleep a night. Older kids need at least 8 to 9.

Vistad: "If you sleep and you're well-rested, your mind won't be fuzzy, your mind will be sharper and clearer and be able to process the information that is being given to you."

Something to make sure your kids are alert and ready to learn.

Vistad: "You're sleep is just important as all those day to day aspects of life."

Now if you're a college student and are dreading getting up early too, here are some tips to help you get your inner clock back on track.

Turn off the electronics, don't eat before bed, and try to schedule classes later in the morning.

If you can't avoid those dreaded 8 a.m. classes, take a nap after class. But don't sleep for more than 30 minutes or else you'll end up in a deeper sleep and wake up groggier than you were before your nap.

As you prepare to send your kids back to class, look for special stories all this week on WDAZ at 6 and 10. WDAZ is your back to school station!