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Insufficient sleep time in children can be harmful

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Sleep is a time to clean out waste in the brain, repair the body cells, improve memory, and reenergize generally. Many children and adolescents are developing an unhealthy lifestyle associated with insufficient sleep time, according to a large study. While this study was conducted in Greek children and adolescents, the problem is likely a global one. Are your children getting enough sleep, or if you are a youth are you getting enough sleep?

The authors of the Greek study found that inadequate sleep time was connected to skipping breakfast, and consuming sweets and fast food. It was also associated with being overweight/obese and increase in time spent using electronic devices like computer, smartphone, or video game.

“Approximately 40 percent of schoolchildren in the study slept less than recommended,” said senior author Labros Sidossis, Ph.D. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep nine to 12 hours daily to promote optimal health. Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep eight to 10 hours.

Adolescents with insufficient sleep duration also had lower aerobic fitness and physical activity, which can be improved by better sleep habits.

Parents, teachers and health professionals should promote strategies for healthy sleep quality and duration in school-aged children.

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