Back to school in UAE: Proper sleep routine essential for children, say doctors

Doctors in the UAE say getting back into healthy sleep patterns is a necessity now as most students gear up to go back to school from Monday. They highlight it’s important to have the right amount of focus and energy in the classroom, especially after a two-month break. Dr Supriya Sundaram, Consultant Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine, Burjeel Hospital, Abu Dhabi, says, “During the holiday season, there is usually a loss in the routine of day and night for children. This is especially true in the current scenario when screen time is prolonged. Many children are addicted to the phone or the tab and tend to sleep later and later into the night, causing them to wake up later during the day. The routine of school is lost completely.”

“After the holidays, it takes at least one week to reset this irregular timing. A child usually needs a minimum of six to seven hours of sleep. Therefore, children are asked to sleep early, so they can wake up early. Otherwise, they will not get the minimum hours of sleep needed before school.” Healthcare professionals reiterate getting enough sleep is also crucial when it comes to a child’s health. Reading stories, singing songs or having a chat together can help develop proper school-year sleep routines.

Some tips for children to sleep well before they return to school include:

1. The meal timings need to go back to the original schedule. Give children an early dinner so they can go to bed early.

2. Cut screentime. Children should not be allowed to use electronic devices like tabs and phones beyond 7pm, so they have an hour or so without devices before bedtime.

3.They also need to be organised so that the stress levels are less on the first day of school. Keeping their books, clothes, and bags ready would be helpful.

4. There should be a focus on health and cleanliness in the week before school reopens as this would help them sleep better.

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