ROCHESTER, Minn., Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Adopting healthy sleep habits before school is essential for students to get the rest they need to learn and to keep from gaining weight, a U.S. expert says.
Dr. Suresh Kotagal, a pediatric sleep expert at Mayo Clinic Children's Center in Rochester, Minn., suggests establishing a bedtime routine to help children fall asleep and get a good night's rest.
He says children rest better if they skip caffeine after dinner, get regular exercise, turn off electronic devices an hour before bedtime and silence phones so text messages or alerts don't disrupt sleep.
Imposing an early bedtime on weekends will make Monday mornings easier to deal with, he says.
Kids and adolescents ages 6-18 should get 9 hours of sleep nightly, but typically they average little more than 7 hours.
Sleep experts recommend maintaining strict bedtime rules because a lack of sleep increases the risk of being overweight.