Health | Family | Science

Your Kids Need More Sleep, Their Grades Depend On It

It can seem like kids are glued to their smartphones 24/7 nowadays, but new research shows that some teens literally are. A study of 900 kids aged 13-15 in the Journal of Youth Studies says that as many as 1 in 5 kids are staying up late to look at social media, or waking up at night to look at their phones.

If you're worried that all of that technology is rotting your kid's brain, you might actually be right. The study shows that the children who interrupted their sleep were three times more likely to feel tired at school.

When kids are feeling sleepy, they're worse at processing information and have less control over their emotions. A separate study found that children who got less sleep did worse in both English and Math.

If your kids are up all night on the computer, don't think that it's too late to change their behaviour. Here are some tips from experts to make sure they get a good night's rest.

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You may not even realize how much sleep your children need. Adults can get away with 7 hours a night, but teens need at least 8 and a half, and children under thirteen should try to get 11 each night.

The easiest way to improve your children's sleep habits is to make a routine, stick to it like glue every night, and make sure your kids know all the rules.

For young kids, put them to bed before 9pm, because research shows after that they take longer to fall asleep and wake up more often.

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You may think kids aren't ready for bed, because they have lots of energy at night, but like adults they have bursts of energy during the morning and the evening. Sleep experts say that the "forbidden zone" when your child is feeling hyper is actually the perfect time to tuck them in - they don't act like it, but their bodies are starting to feel tired.

You can also try cutting out screen time. An hour of video games before bed is proven to shorten your sleeping time, so set a limit and let them play earlier in the day.  Then, give them a fruit snack or some cheese at night. Healthy snacks make kids' brains ready for bed.

Finally, turn those nightlights off! Doctors say total darkness puts kids to sleep the fastest.

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