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East Tennessee pediatrician gives tips on getting kids back into a sleep schedule

As kids return to school in East Tennessee, many will need to get back into normal sleeping habits. An ETCH doctor gave some tips on how to do that.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Kids are beginning to return to school in East Tennessee. It doesn't matter whether they're learning from home or going back into the classroom — they'll need to adjust to a new sleep schedule and wake up earlier for class.

"It takes the body a long time to adjust to a change in sleep schedule," Dr. Nicole Lopez said, a doctor with East Tennessee Children's Hospital. "For some kids who have had some chaotic routines in summer, or over the last 6 months, it's going to take a lot longer to get back into a normal routine."

She said that if kids need to get up at 6 a.m. for school, they may need to go to bed as early as 8 p.m. to quickly adjust to the new sleep schedule and get enough rest. However, she also said that the time kids need to go to sleep can vary between ages.

Younger children may need more rest compared to older teens.

Lopez recommended families start a bedtime routine that starts after dinner. She said families should do the same thing every night after supper, to start signaling that it's bedtime as kids adjust to the new schedule.

"If kids have a routine every single day, including the weekends, it'll be a lot easier for them to be prepared for bedtime," Lopez said.

She also said that all electronic devices should be away from everyone, including children, for at least 1 hour before bed. That way, people's minds will be more relaxed and less stimulated before bed, making it easier to rest.