Back to school means back to regular sleep schedule to enhance l - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Back to school means back to regular sleep schedule to enhance learning

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Going back to school means going back to a regular sleep schedule, which can be tough after a long summer of staying up late and sleeping in, but experts say it's incredibly important to get that good night's sleep to be able to learn in class.

Associate Scientist Stephanie Jones studies how too little sleep affects kids at the Wisconsin Institute for Sleep and Consciousness at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. She says a good night's sleep is like a re-set for your brain. It can improve problem-solving, fact retention and muscle memory. Plus, it preps the brain for the next day of learning.

"It's like the job of growing up is to refine your brain, to make it the best brain it can be, and sleep is intimately involved in that process, and if you're not getting enough sleep you're not making the best brain you can make," says Jones.

Your brain gets saturated with information over the course of a day and needs that down time at night, where sleep waves wash over the noise and leave the most important information to be remembered, according to Jones.

Jones' research into sleep apnea in kids has found a portion of their brain never turns off at night, causing problems with attention. She says sleepiness shows up in an unusual way in any child. If they're too wild too late at night, or in the classroom, that could be a sign your kid needs more time in bed.

We caught up with some band students at Mt. Horeb High School, who are training for another football season. They say learning new marching steps and music can be difficult when they don't get enough sleep the night before, but they're starting to get back into the swing of things.

"I always try to make sure I get home by at least a little reasonable hour," says junior Skyler Donovan. "Especially when I have a game the next day or marching band in the morning, so I just set an alarm, which helps."

"I think it's exciting just to have a schedule down," says senior Leah Skalet. "I like getting ready for the school year because I know I can look forward to things throughout the school year that I really like, but it's nice to have the [summer] break."

As you get your child back into the routine, experts say to make it a little easier, you should get into a regular schedule. The kids should go to bed and get up and the same time every day, including the weekends. Plus, build in some wind down time, to relax before sleeping. They should also put away the phones and tablets right before bed because the blue light that comes from them is known to interfere with sleepiness.

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