The hardest part of starting the school year isn't the homework for most students. It's getting back on a healthy sleep schedule and waking up each morning.

Dr. Anuj Chandra, Advanced Centers for Sleep Disorder says "Think of sleep as one of the three things important to sustain life: and that is good nutrition, exercise, and sleep."

Dr. Anuj Chandra is a sleep specialist with the Advanced Centers for Sleep Disorder. He said the time to start preparing is now.

Dr. Chandra says "So basically a week before you need to plan because if you are allowing them to sleep in, take naps, stay up late that is going to boomerang."

Dr. Chandra says a lack of sleep for students can have a serious impact both at school and at home.

Dr. Chandra says "Not only is it learning, it has an impact on accidents, in their interaction, in their ability to learn."

Dr. Chandra says parents often over-schedule their kids during the school year, leaving very little time for getting a good night's sleep. But he says just like you schedule those extra-curricular activities, it's important to make sure sleep is also on the schedule.

Dr. Chandra says "All of this has an impact because they are going to be running on only four or five hours of sleep."

And that's not nearly enough according to experts like Dr. Chandra. They recommend:

  • Elementary students get 10 hours of sleep
  • Middle school students about 9 hours
  • High school students at least 8 hours

Dr. Chandra says "Once school starts, especially with high schoolers that is playing with fire because you will be waking them early and they will be in their deep sleep and they will be driving ."

Dr. Chandra says in addition to adjusting your child's sleep schedule, it's also important to cut back on caffeinated drinks and make sure they are getting exercise.

The bottom line making the grade often starts with getting a good night's sleep.

Dr. Chandra says "So it is real there are well-done studies that we as a nation are sleep deprived, our kids are sleep deprived."

One of the toughest challenges, avoiding electronics before bedtime and especially while in bed. Dr. Chandra says that is important advice for both parents and their children.