Back to school, get some sleep

Toledo, OH - Let's face it, waking up in the early morning hours to get your kids ready for school is no fun.

But parents, know that it can be just as hard, or even worse for your children, when they've had an entire summer of sleeping in.

"Suddenly you're a different time zone, and you have insomnia. It takes a little bit of time, and the kid will adjust, but there's a transition period," explains sleep expert Joseph Shaffer, M.D.

Shaffer says not everyone's transition is easy.

"We have a genetically pre-determined biological rhythm," he says.

That rhythm is unique to every person, giving truth to the term of being a "night person" or a "morning person."

If you describe yourself as a morning or night person, scientific studies say you're probably right.

The clue is to understand you own rhythm, respond to it, and maintain regularity. The key to good sleep is regularity," says Shaffer.

We all know that school starts early, and when we were going to school, many of us always thought it was too early. As it turns out, we were right about that.

Dr. Shaffer says, "We tend to schedule our high school students' first class to start very early, as early as 7:30. The effects on performance are significant."

Minnesota has adopted laws stating that school cannot start before 8:30 A.M. According to the US Census Bureau, Minnesota has one of the highest graduation rates, about 83%. Ohio sits at about 75%, which is on the lower side.

Shaffer says, "In the teenage years, school should not begin very early."

But, of course, it does. And it doesn't seem that Ohio will be following the lead of Minnesota any time soon.

So you and your children must adjust, and that means following some simple rules to help get the best sleep possible.

"Don't fall asleep with the TV on," Shaffer says. "Keep noise to a minimum. Keep in very dark. And make it very restful."

Because like it or not, your alarm is going to go off bright and early.