Sleep More, Tweens
Healthy ways to help tweens get the sleep they need.
Experts say tweens and teens need at least 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night, if not more. But only 20 percent of the 12- to 18-year-olds surveyed for a study published in Pediatrics reported sleeping 8 or more hours on school nights. What’s keeping them up? Caffeinated energy drinks and too many electronic gadgets. Think phones, TVs, MP3 players, and computers, often all in the same room. What can you do? Christina Calamaro, Ph.D., the lead author of the study, offers these tips:
• Keep tech devices out of the bedroom. And not just your child’s room, your own as well. “This is an important thing to model,” Calamaro says.
• Encourage (and again, model) good “sleep hygiene.” Try to start winding down—and that includes turning off the computer and TV—an hour before bedtime if you can. Reading can help you relax.
• Know the difference between energy drinks and sports drinks. “Energy drinks are full of caffeine and sugar and have no purpose but to keep you awake,” explains Calamaro. “Sports drinks are for replenishment after exercise or a game.”
Susan Hayes is a freelance writer who lives in Brooklyn, NY. She is the co-author of 7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child.