LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: Back-To-School Sleep Schedules.

Michigan students are back, filling up classrooms again, and in-person this year without pandemic protocols weighing them down, but — according to a recent study, lack of enough quality sleep for kids may now be even a heavier burden that needs to be lifted away.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say, roughly 50% of all students do not get enough sleep — with approximately 7 out of 10 U.S. high school students sleeping less than 8 hours on school nights — and 6 out of 10 middle schoolers also do not sleep enough. Experts say children and adolescents who do not get the recommended amount of sleep for their age are at increased risk for chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, poor mental health, injuries, attention and behavioral problems, and poor academic performance.

Here are 6 ways to help your kids get enough sleep, and they include:

*Come up with a sleep schedule

*Wind down an hour before bedtime

*Provide optimal sleeping conditions

*Use the bed only for sleep

*Avoid late-afternoon naps

*Chocolate, cola, and caffeine should be off limits late in the day

Experts say, children, need much more sleep than adults do, in fact — 9 to 12 hours a day for kids 6 to 12 years old —- and 8 to 10 hours for teenagers. So, if your kids aren’t getting these numbers in, it may be time to establish a solid Back-To-School Sleep Schedule.