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Raising Fit Kids: Healthy Nurtition, Exercise, and Weight

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Quiz: Are Your Kids Getting Enough Sleep?

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How much sleep do teens need a night?

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How much sleep do teens need a night?

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Teens may not get the sleep they need because of busy schedules and night-owl sleeping patterns. But less than 8.5 hours just won't cut it. Younger school-age kids need 10 to 11 hours of sleep a night.

 

Being tired affects your kid’s  grades, mood, and health – no matter their age. Plus, if your kid doesn't get enough sleep, she could go looking for energy from unhealthy foods. Those junk foods, fried foods, and gooey snacks can lead to unhealthy weight gain.

 

If your teen is too busy with homework and activities to get enough sleep, it may be time to cut back on something else in her schedule.

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Kids can catch up on missed sleep by sleeping in late on the weekend.

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Kids can catch up on missed sleep by sleeping in late on the weekend.

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False -- Kids cannot catch up on missed sleep by sleeping in late. Sleeping in messes up the body’s internal clock. Your child can get a kind of “jet lag” when he tries to wake up early Monday morning after sleeping late on Saturday and Sunday.

 

It’s better to stick close to the same sleep schedule all week long. If “sleeping in” is a must, limit it to 1 hour or 9 a.m. on weekends, say experts.

Watching TV in bed can help kids wind down and fall asleep:

Watching TV in bed can help kids wind down and fall asleep:

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It's best to keep screens, TV or computer, out of the bedroom at any age. Staring at a bright screen before bed can keep kids, and even and adults, awake. It tricks your brain into thinking it's still daytime and time to be awake and alert.

 

Keep TVs, computers, and electronic tablets in common areas of your house. Have everyone power down 1 hour before bed so their brains have time to wind down.

 

The same goes for phones. Not only can their bright light keep kids awake -- the sound of texts and email can disturb their slumber.

A power nap can refresh a sleepy kid.

A power nap can refresh a sleepy kid.

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True -- A short nap can help refresh a wilting kid. While most kids don’t need regular naps after they are about 5 years old, kids of any age can power nap

 

Have them keep naps to 30 minutes or less. Longer can make kids groggy and make it harder for them to fall -- and stay -- asleep at night. Also make sure they nap early enough in the day so it won’t make it hard for them to fall asleep when it’s bedtime.

 

However, if your child is really sleepy, it’s best to skip the nap and just try to get her to bed a little earlier.

Doing homework in bed:

Doing homework in bed:

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If your child does  homework in her room, set her up with a desk so she has a place to do homework while her bed stays a place for relaxation and rest.
 

When kids do homework in bed they can subconsciously come to connect their bed with the stress of math problems and vocab. That can make sleep difficult.

Caffeine isn't good for kids -- it can make it hard to sleep. How much does the typical kid drink a day?

Caffeine isn't good for kids -- it can make it hard to sleep. How much does the typical kid drink a day?

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Instead of soda or energy drinks, offer your kids water or sparkling water if they want fizz.
 

Caffeine can wreck kids' focus in school. It can also make their hearts race, and give them headaches and stomachaches. Caffeine can even affect their developing neurological and cardiovascular systems.
 

Want another reason to say no to sodas and energy drinks? Along with caffeine, many of them are loaded with sugar, which can cause childhood obesity.
 

If your child says she needs caffeine for energy, encourage her to get more sleep instead!

Teens stay awake late because:

Teens stay awake late because:

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A teen's body clock resets at puberty. They're most alert in the evenings and are not able to fall asleep until at least 10 p.m., say experts.

 

So they get to sleep as soon as possible, suggest a bedtime ritual. Brushing your teeth, turning lights down, and reading can bring on that sleepy feeling. Bedtime routines aren't just for babies. 

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Great job! You've got the scoop on kids' sleep.

Not bad. You know a few things about kids and sleep.

Seems like bedtime could be better. Remember that a bedtime routine and regular schedule can help your kids get enough ZZZs.

 

For Kids and Parents. Kid Tested. Expert Approved.
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