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May 11, 2015

Should Kids Have a Later Bedtime in the Summer?

Summer vacation is just around the corner. For many kids, summer means more than having fun in the sun. It also means getting to stay up later.

Many doctors say it’s OK to have a later summer bedtime—as long as you can also sleep later in the morning. “The most important thing is that you’re getting the sleep that you need,” says Jodi Mindell, a sleep expert at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. She adds, however, that kids should return to their usual sleep schedule a couple of weeks before the new school year begins.

Not everyone likes the idea of later summer bedtimes, though. Some people argue that kids should stick to the same sleep routine year-round so their bodies don’t need to readjust to changing schedules. Others say kids should go to bed when they’re naturally tired. Sleep experts have found that elementary school students who stay up later than 9 p.m. tend not to get enough rest. A lack of sleep can make kids moody and less focused, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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