Back-to-school in UAE: Why students must return to a proper sleep schedule now

For pupils to have the right amount of focus and energy in the classroom they must return to their regular school routine, medical experts have highlighted

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Nandini Sircar

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Published: Thu 28 Dec 2023, 8:58 PM

Last updated: Fri 29 Dec 2023, 8:25 AM

Children should return to a healthy sleeping routine now, as most schools in UAE will reopen on Tuesday, medics in the country say.

Students often get carried away during their break, indulging in different types of activities.

For pupils to have the right amount of focus and energy in the classroom they must return to their regular school routine, medical experts have highlighted.

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Quality sleep

Dr Mostafa Maged Hatem, Consultant Paediatrics, Burjeel Farha Hospital, Al Ain said, “Adjusting to a new sleep routine can be challenging. It typically takes three to five days for the body to acclimate to a modified sleep pattern. To establish a healthy sleep routine, it is advisable to initiate the adjustment process at least five days before the start of the school term.”

Dr Mostafa Maged Hatem
Dr Mostafa Maged Hatem

Experts highlight lack of sleep or poor sleep quality affects children's behaviour and is even associated with depression and anxiety.

Dr Nada Fahed Elomari, specialist pediatrics, Prime Medical Centre Motor City said: “Research has found that 73 per cent of high school students are not getting quality sleep. This in turn affects their overall performance. To improve sleep quality, students should shut down their devices by 10pm, limit caffeine intake, be encouraged to have good sleep hygiene, and a daily homework chart to finish their activities can additionally help them.”

Dr Nada Fahed Elomari
Dr Nada Fahed Elomari

Screen time, social media and sleep

Increased screen time and use of social media has adversely affected the sleep patterns of school students, healthcare professionals in the country say.

“Many fail to attain sufficient sleep hours, particularly during the night, disrupting the delicate hormonal balance within their bodies.

“Night-time sleep is particularly important for the release of growth hormones, a key factor in children’s growth. Growth hormone secretion peaks during the early hours of the night, highlighting the importance of maintaining a consistent early sleep schedule to maximise the impact of these hormones,” added Hatem.

Sleep experts additionally advise following soothing routines before bedtime, like reading or having a warm bath, listening to calming music or even having a short chat, to develop proper school-year sleep routines.

They also suggest that pupils must refrain from intense physical exercise before bedtime.

Girish Hemnani, Energy Healer and Life Coach says, “Getting back to school routine is a challenge even for parents, as self-restraint doesn't come naturally to many. One advice is to switch off all digital screens and lights to create a dark ambiance and just be aware of each breath.”

Girish Hemnani
Girish Hemnani

Consistent research has indicated that establishing an early bedtime for children contributes significantly to their physical, emotional, and cognitive growth.

Sufficient sleep not only enhances a child's overall health but also amplifies their memory capabilities.

Furthermore, the advantages of an early bedtime extend to experiencing fewer interruptions during the night.

“Assisting your child with this (sleep routine) will help them reduce hyper-alertness and get attuned to the body's circadian rhythm. This activity is highly beneficial to middle school students as this will help boost the quality of sleep resulting in feeling rested and recharged,” added Hemnani.

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